The effects of social media on mental health are enormous, Most of the people around the world are busy with scrolling their feeds and timeline spending most of their time using social media like Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok, etc. There was a time before “when people used to spend their time reading magazines and books”. However, This is not the case with the current generation we are living in.
There are a lot of side effects with using social media, It could be a benefit or a drawback.
In this day and age, we are constantly surrounded by social media. People are always updating statuses on their phones or laptops, posting images, liking things and messaging with friends back and forth. While social media is extremely beneficial in several ways (i.e., self-expression, communicating with long-distance friends, self-identity, emotional support, etc.), it does have a negative impact on mental health and the precious time we waste with it.
Recently, a study was carried out by the Royal Society of Public Health and the Young Health Movement, which surveyed nearly 1,500 young adults from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales around the ages 14-24. Participants for this survey were asked to rate 14 issues related to mental health and well-being for different social media platforms. Mental health and well-being issues included items such as quality and amount of sleep, loneliness feelings, bullying, fear of missing out (FOMO), anxiety, emotional support, depression, self-expression, and so on.
The results of the study showed that the social media platforms have both positive and negative impacts. Some of the positive impacts of social media platforms include being great for building and maintaining relationships with people , self-expression, self-identity, emotional support , and community building. On the other hand, the negative impacts of social media platforms include issues such as increased levels of depression and anxiety, poor sleep quality, dissatisfaction with body image, cyberbullying, and FOMO.
In general, these negative impacts of social media are usually attributed to unrealistic representations in posts that make viewers feel inadequate.This feeling of inadequacy and low self-esteem can lead to negative impacts that have just been mentioned above (i.e. increased levels of depression , anxiety, body image dissatisfaction, and so on).
Social media can easily make people feel that they are not good enough, which can lead to negative feelings and a desire to change themselves or your life. These negative feelings and the desire to change yourself or your life are harmful to one’s mental health. Additionally, other research has found that the more you spend on social media, and the more social platforms you ‘re on, can also lead to an increase in negative feelings, depression and anxiety.
RSPH and the Young Health Movement (YHM) have released a new study, #StatusOfMind, which looks at the positive and negative impacts of social media on the health of young people, including a league table of social media outlets focused on their impact on the health of young people.
YouTube is the most positive top of the list, with Instagram and Snapchat being the most harmful to the mental health and well-being of young people. RSPH and YHM are now calling for action from government and social media companies to help encourage the positive aspects of youth social media and at the same time reducing any negative aspects. This Effects of social media on mental health is normally promotes anxiety.
For young people it makes sense for many reasons to use social media and digital technologies as a tool to help with mental health. Social media is a part of their daily lives and so care could be delivered in a lifestyle-integrated, self-managed approach. This holistic view could incorporate personal interests and activities. It could help improve psychoeducation, increase mental health self-awareness and act as a preventive measure. Sometimes the young people feel more comfortable talking online about personal issues.
“We also have a unique opportunity to communicate on the terms and in creative ways with young people. As health professionals we have to make every effort to understand the expressions, lexicons and terms of modern youth culture in order to better connect with their thoughts and feelings.”
Effects of social media on Mental health:
1. You have smartphones with germs:
Wherever you go you carry your smartphone with you. At school, you’ve got it on you, you’re working, and while you’re shopping and doing some surfing around. Some people even carry their (not recommended) smartphones into the bathroom! Smartphones harbor bacteria and viruses such as E. coli can make you sick. To remove dirt, dust, and germs, use alcohol-based wipes that are safe to use on electronics and wipe down your smartphone at least once a day.
2. Look at your neck:
Looking down your smartphone while texting and browsing strains the muscles of the neck and may cause knots or spasms to develop. It can even give rise to nerve pain that radiates to the back , shoulders or arms. Take regular breaks on your smartphone at least every 20 minutes when you are sending text or browsing. Keep good posture, and don’t hunch forward. When you are using it, hold your phone higher. Proper smartphone ergonomics helps to prevent smartphone use-related injuries, which is a common consideration of public health. Do regular exercise that strengthens muscles such as yoga and Pilates and stretches.
3. Promotes Headache:
Mobile phone usage involves several factors that can contribute to headaches, including viewing the light on the screen, straining your eyes, bending over in a stooped posture, typing or playing games with your hands and fingers, and using the phone to make phone calls.
It has been shown that all these activities contribute to the migraines and their associated symptoms. Dealing with the problem calls for a number of strategies. Social media Effects on mental health.
How to reduce migraine caused by using a phone?
- Adjust the light on your screen to prevent it from being too bright.
- Adjust font size to avoid eye strain on your phone.
- Make sure your position varies (sit, stand, and use different back support types).
- Considering the use of email and text dictation.
- If your fingers or hands feel strained, take a break.
- Whenever possible, use the speakerphone setting instead of holding your phone to your ear.
4. Smartphone Addiction:
Addiction to smart-phones, sometimes called colloquially “nomophobia” (fear of being without a mobile phone), is often fuelled by an Internet overuse problem or a disorder of Internet addiction. It’s rarely the phone or tablet itself, after all, that creates the compulsion, but rather the games , apps and online worlds to which it connects us.
5. Loneliness and depression:
While having lost yourself online may seem to temporarily cause feelings like loneliness , depression and boredom to evaporate into thin air, it may actually make you feel even worse. A 2014 study found a correlation between high social media use and anxiety and depression this effects mental health as well. Users , especially teens, tend to compare unfavorably on social media with their peers, establishing feelings of loneliness and depression.
6. Causing huge anxiety.
One researcher found that the mere presence of a telephone in a place of work tends to make people more anxious and perform poorly on given tasks. The heavier a person’s use of the phone, the greater their anxiety.
7. Rising stress.
Using a smartphone for work often involving the work into your home and personal life. You feel the pressure to be constantly on, never out of touch from work. This need to keep checking and responding to emails can contribute to higher levels of stress and even burnout.
8. Disturbs your sleep:
Excessive use of the mobile will disrupt your sleep, which can adversely affect your overall mental health. It can affect your memory, affect your ability to think clearly, and reduce your learning and cognitive skills.
9. Diminishing your capacity to focus and think in depth or creatively:
Your smartphone’s persistent buzz, ping or beep can distract you from important tasks, slow down your work and interrupt those quiet moments so crucial to creativity and problem solving. Rather than just being alone with our thoughts, now we are both online and linked.
Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and is now so prominent in young people’s lives. Although, it can no longer be overlooked when thinking about the mental health problems facing young people. Young people say that social media has had both a positive and a negative effect on their mental health. It’s fascinating to see Instagram and Snapchat rated as the worst for mental wellbeing and well-being both sites are extremely picture-focused. It seems that they can push youth feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.
As the evidence grows that there may be potential harms from heavy social media use, and as we upgrade mental health status within society. it is important that we have checks and balances in place to make social media less of a wild west when it comes to mental health and well-being of young people. We want to promote and encourage the many positive aspects of networking platforms and avoid a situation that leads to psychosis on social media that can blight our young people’s lives.