According to Smart Social an article called “The Negative Effects of social media for teens” Published Feb 23, 2018. Stated that “91% of 16-24 year old use the internet for social networking.” Having any social media account in today’s generation is the norm. It’s no secret that social media influences people to do, think, and believe all different kinds of things. For example, There are many different kinds of social media accounts available such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. each allows us to do all different kinds of things. They can be a platform to communicate, share, and be united with others. However, I am curious to know the effects that social media has on its users’ and their mental health? For further investigation on how social media can affect mental health, an interview was conducted at PRHS asking some students about the influence that social media has had on their lives. Rebecca Twyman, a senior at PRHS, stated “Social media has had a negative impact on my mental health before. I have been affected by social media negatively because of how social media makes you not feel good enough. Online you see everybody’s highlights in their life, it’s not fully reality. It leads me to compare myself and my life with others.” Social media has been known to cause many different types of mental illnesses to its users. For example according to The Weekday Newsletter, social media is known to of caused depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem to its users over time. The Smart Social team for Smart Social.com reported that teens who “spend two hours on social media a day are more likely to report poor mental health.” Not only can social media be linked to mental health issues, it is also a cause of cyberbullying, poor body image, and lack of sleep. Social media also provides many positive effects, however, they might not be worth the negative effects. Another student Brenda Alcaraz a senior stated “I have never been cyberbullied but I have seen it before and known people who were. Social media has caused me to have a very poor body image at times, especially when I am on it scrolling. Most nights I lose sleep because I am on my phone too late not trying to go to sleep instead.”
Social media is known to be a place where individuals can share their lives, opinions, etc. However, when comparison comes into play it can often result in a downward spiral of consequences on its users mental stability. Comparing your lives to others, seeking approval, trying to live up to a standard that is portrayed are all exhausting things to feel the need to do that social media enables. Of course it is a choice as to what we allow ourselves to be affected by, however most don’t understand that they are even being affected. Social media is a great platform to be able to connect with others, however; it can also be a very dangerous place to spend too much of your time. It can be hard and for others, nearly impossible to delete all social media from their lives. As an alternative, Mindbodygreen published an article called “10 Tips to Spend Less Time on Social Media & More Time With Humans” September 17, 2013. This article can be helpful to those who don’t want to give up their social media accounts, but maybe need to spend less time on them. Some ways that were listed to spend less time on social media are suggestions that all people should consider. “Make a ‘no phones at the table” rule, “call people rather than texting”, and to “be aware of how much time you are spending on your phone” and make efforts to try to cut it down.
The dangers of social media to your mental health are real. However, phones and technology make the world go round in today’s generation and it is acceptable to not want to cut yourself off from that. Regardless, it is important that we acknowledge the dangers we are putting ourselves in and make a conscious effort to not allow the negative effects of social media to effect your mental health. Above all, that is the most important, you and your health.