Negative Impact of Social Media on Mental Health – Social media is still relatively new in terms of its development and use. Various studies that analyze the positive and negative impacts of social media are still being carried out, especially in the present, where the level of its use is getting higher. Even so, quoting from helpguide.org, many studies have found a strong relationship between social media and negative effects such as an increased risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.
Nowadays, most people access social media through smartphones. Social media provides convenience in terms of connecting between people, and also means that social media will always be accessible anytime, anywhere. This hyper-connectivity all the time can trigger impulse control issues, constant alerts and notifications that can affect your concentration and focus, interfere with sleep, and make you a slave to your phone.
Social media platforms are designed to grab attention, keep you online, and entice you to repeatedly check your screen for notifications. However, just like compulsive gambling or addiction to nicotine, alcohol, or drugs, social media use can create psychological cravings. When you receive a positive reaction to a post you upload, it can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, a chemical that provides the sensation of pleasure.
This if allowed to drag on it can be dangerous for mental health. Because in the end you will depend on many aspects of yourself to judge through pseudo social media and easily changeable. Here are some of the negative impacts of social media that you need to be aware of and prevent early on.
1. Always Feel Less
The first negative impact of social media is the emergence of a feeling that yourself or your life is always lacking when compared to the lives or lives of others on social media. Although you may now be well aware that the uploads that are scattered on social media are mostly the result of manipulation, there will still be feelings of insecurity from within. You may feel that you are not beautiful enough, stylish enough, or not enjoying life enough based on what other people show you.
Similarly, you must be aware that other people tend to share things that are important and rarely occur in their lives to be displayed on social media. But that fact will not reduce feelings of envy and dissatisfaction when you look at photos of friends on vacation to Europe, shopping for branded goods, eating at luxury places, and so on. In the end, there will always be feelings of lack and dissatisfaction that come from uploads on social media.
2. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
The second negative impact of social media is the emergence of the phenomenon of fear of missing out or FOMO. This is a phenomenon where you feel afraid to miss various viral or popular things that are trending on social media. This phenomenon has actually been developing for a long time, before the spread of social media platforms. However, nowadays social media makes the FOMO phenomenon even more acute and dangerous.
The idea that you’re missing certain things, especially those that are going viral or popular, can affect your self-esteem, trigger anxiety, and lead to greater use of social media. FOMO can force you to check your gadget every few minutes to check for notification updates, or compulsively respond to every passing thing on your social media timeline. Even if it means taking on dangerous risks like twittering while driving, skipping sleep at night to stay online, or prioritizing social media interactions over real-world relationships.
3. Triggers Anxiety
The third negative impact of social media can trigger anxiety or anxiety. Quoting from bbc.com, researchers have looked at the general sense of anxiety triggered by social media. Anxiety is characterized by feelings of restlessness and worry, as well as difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
A study published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior found that people who reported using seven or more social media platforms were three times more likely to have high levels of generalized anxiety symptoms than people who used only 0-2 social media platforms.
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Even so, it is not 100% clear whether and how social media can cause anxiety in individuals. Researchers from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania reviewed existing research on the relationship between social anxiety and social networking and said the results were quite mixed. They concluded that further research needs to be done.
4. Embrace Depression
The fourth negative impact of social media is the emergence of feelings of depression in oneself. Several studies have found a link between depression and social media use. Two studies involving more than 700 students found that depressive symptoms, such as low mood and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, were related to the quality of online interactions. The researchers found higher rates of depressive symptoms among those who reported having more negative interactions.
A similar study conducted in 2016 involving 1,700 people found a threefold risk of depression and anxiety among people who used social media platforms a lot. Reasons for this depression include cyberbullying, having a distorted view of other people’s lives, and feeling time spent on social media is a waste.
BBC Future reports that scientists are also looking at how social media can be used to diagnose depression, and can help them receive treatment early. Microsoft researchers surveyed 476 people and analyzed their Twitter profiles for depressive language, linguistic style, engagement, and emotion.
From this, they developed a classifier that could accurately predict depression before it caused symptoms in 7 out of 10 cases. Researchers from Harvard and Vermont Universities also analyzed 166 people’s Instagram photos to create a similar tool last year with similar success rates.
5. Give Addictive Effect
The sixth negative impact of social media can have an addictive effect. Despite some researchers’ arguments that Twitter may be harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol, social media addiction is still not included in the latest diagnostic manuals for mental health disorders.
However, social media is changing faster than scientists can keep up, so various groups are trying to study the compulsive behaviors associated with its use. For example, scientists from the Netherlands have invented their own scale to identify possible social media addiction.