Social Media and Mental Health–Know the Effects and Consequences
While the use of social media has plenty of benefits but at the same time, it causes issues like depression, anxiety, isolation, and other serious health concerns. We are social creatures and we like to blend in between different sorts of people, have fun, and share our feelings. Social media has not only given the platform to do that, but it has also given this glittery image where we often ignore real-life events and get too much indulged in it.
In recent years, a significant increase in the use of social media has been observed especially among young people. A recent study on social media and mental health showed that over 20% of students use social media for over five hours every day. Is this too much? And how it is affecting them?
Social Media and Mental Health
Many mental health professionals are concerned about the effects social media can pose on the mental health of youth. There are several studies conducted on it and there is one proper conclusion- less usage of social media is associated with better mental health among kids.
A large scale study indicated that the occasional use of social media can lead to less depression than heavy users. The people who use social media for over two hours every day are more likely to mark their mental health as poor or fair as compared to occasional users.
The Passive Use of Social Media
Sometimes the use of social media is divided into a passive and active manner. Passive users are those who quietly observe what is going on there without actually playing any part. Researches have indicated that such passive use can lead to depression, envy, and anxiety.
It is properly justified given the life people portray on social media. They show themselves as perfect in an unrealistic manner where they share the filtered version of their reality. The brief highlighted glittered version of their life is shown on social media whereas the reality is seldom shared.
When passive users see this sort of content on social media, they think of their life as worthless not realizing that the life their friends are showing is unrealistic. They wrongly conclude that others are living a happier, fulfilled, and content life. This can lead to anxiety and self-esteem issues.
The Active Use of Social Media
The active users on social media engage with different activities regularly. They post content, pictures, posts, updates, and many other things. This might be accompanied by the need for getting people’s approval and admiration. This need for ‘social validation’ sometimes goes too much far which can lead to portraying the things that never happened in real life just to get the attention.
It can include unhealthy self-scrutiny of physical appearance, general lifestyle, or body image. Some researchers say that forced effort to portray a ‘fun-filled life’ can have some serious effects on mental health, especially when the user doesn’t get the approval he longs for. It can also lead to self-loathing and self-doubting.
Social Media Addiction
One of the most dangerous effects of using social media frequently is social media addiction. It is very common among kids since they step in the glittery world with their innocent minds. They start learning new things and they get so much indulged in this glittery life that they start ignoring real-life experiences.
It is observed that kids often make frequent use of social media to fight off their depression and ignore the issues they have been facing in real life. By doing this, they make themselves unaware of real-life relationships, they lose their interest in the activities they used to do, and soon, they start living with their smartphones alone.
This social media addiction can have some serious effects on the mental health of these kids. Soon they get the feelings of loneliness and depression when they start facing issues in their social media life. Their addiction soon makes them tired of the usage and the feelings of anxiety and stress take control. The strong urge to look at the phone after every 5 minutes starts irritating them and they find themselves in control of social media.
How to Make Better Use of Social Media?
To avoid the negative effects of social media from polluting the minds of kids, certain things can be done. Such as:
- There should be some limitations regarding the time of the use of social media. It can be included in the house rules that no use of smartphones after 9 pm or whatsoever. Kids should learn that they cannot use social media all the time and there are rules about it. Such a strategy can be helpful in proper rest and sleep.
- There should be some rules about space from digital devices. Kids shouldn’t be allowed to have their digital devices on the dinner table, or during a family conversation, or any activity that seeks proper concentration.
- There must be some alternative offered to the kids to keep them away from using social media too much. They should be encouraged to invite their friends over and have some fun activities. This way they will have a balance in their life.
- Parents must use parental control apps to keep a check on their kids in case if they are exceeding the limit of normal use, or if they are having trouble online. Either way, kids might not tell their parents right away. The use of parental control app like SecureTeen can help a lot in monitoring them and making sure that they are following the rules.
Using these strategies can help kids in understanding the right use of social media. This way, their mental health will also be taken care of and they will know that everything should be used in balance. Parents must play a proper role in guiding them about the right use of social media.