The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health: Exploring the Benefits and Pitfalls
Myspace, Friendster, and Second Life were popular over two decades ago, but it’s Facebook that revolutionized the social media market and made these platforms widely popular. Today, you have Instagram, TikTok, and other social networks with millions of users worldwide.
Many use social media for personal and business reasons, but have you ever thought about the effect it has on your mental health? In this article, we explore the advantages and drawbacks of using social media!
Pro: Stay in Touch with Your Family and Friends
Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks are excellent for getting and staying in touch with others. As long as they publish regularly, you can receive important updates about the events in their lives. And there’s always the option of messaging them to see how they are doing.
Social media is convenient because you can locate and add friends and family members worldwide. It allows staying connected with people in other countries by reacting to their posts and exchanging messages.
Pro: Share Passions with Like-Minded People
Let’s say you are a fitness enthusiast, but none of your friends fall into that category. Social media is an excellent way to join groups and follow others who share this passion. You can exchange opinions, tips, and other insights, which leads to building new friendships. That’s a great way to combat loneliness and communicate about the topics you find interesting with people of similar profiles.
Pro: Raising Awareness About Current Issues
Social platforms are great for awareness about important issues in your community or to organise groups around a particular cause. If there’s an area with piled-up garbage in your neighborhood, sharing photos and videos on social media can send a message to authorities to act and clean it. And that’s only a micro-based example because social platforms can spread news fast, making them a great tool to unite ideas and generate awareness to achieve social justice or other goals.
Pro: Easy Access to a Large Number of Games
Facebook has an entire section dedicated to games, and the genres available go from arcade and puzzle to strategy and RPG. Many games have a social factor where you exchange valuable in-game items with friends. The same gaming model, in tandem with higher stakes, appear in casino games, in which you directly compete against other players. Taking things to the next level, you can play blackjack for real money and enjoy the thrill that comes with this easy-to-learn but hard-to-master card game. This way, you will immerse yourself in a vast variety of genres, mastering your strategic skills across multiple iGaming domains.
Con: Not Feeling Good About Yourself
Most people are aware that photos posted on social media go through multiple filters. Many even manipulate others about being in a particular location, such as a luxurious vacation destination. But despite knowing it could be false, seeing these posts on social media makes you feel inadequate about your looks, finances, and other aspects of your life, which puts you in a bad mood and makes you feel insecure.
Con: Social Media Increases the Depression Risk
You can find different data that indicate social media affects mental health negatively. For example, the National Vital Statistics reports show the suicide rate among US teens and young adults from ten to 24 years old increased by over 50% from 2007 to 2017. That coincides with the time when Facebook started gaining huge popularity among users in the United States and worldwide.
Social media encourages children to stay isolated from their friends and the public overall. Instead of spending time with others, they isolate and browse social platforms. That triggers mood swings depending on the content the child comes across and contributes to exhibiting dissociative behavior.
The definition of cyberbullying is sharing, posting, or sending mean, false, or otherwise harmful content about another party. Unfortunately, the internet and social media are widely available, which increases the frequency and risk of cyberbullying.
You could be exposed to offensive and threatening messages, or someone could get their hands on and share your sensitive images and info publicly. These could have a long-term effect on your self-image and mental health, so it’s important to pay attention and give your best to avoid situations that could possibly lead to cyberbullying.
Con: Misinformation and Fake News
Although many social media platforms have mechanisms that warn you or prevent fake news publishing, it’s impossible to stop the sharing of misinformation completely. A person with an anonymous account can share dangerous fake news and reach millions quickly. That often contributes to making divisions between different groups, which increases the risk of polarization in real life.
It’s hard to stay away from social media since we are living in an era of technology. You might feel you are missing out, especially since these platforms are great for keeping in touch with family and friends. But social networks are a double-edged sword, and it all depends on how you use them. Fortunately, there are ways to use social media positively for your mental health, such as setting usage limits, avoiding arguments, and following positive accounts.