Social media plays a major role in everybody’s life nowadays. Be it promoting your business, or looking for the latest fashion trends, it is the social media everyone looks up to.
Catching up with friends on facebook, posting your pet’s picture online and following your favorite movie star on Twitter, it has actually become extremely important to keep yourself updated about what is going on or near your surroundings.
It is estimated that about 77% of Americans have a social media profile of some kind or the other.(1)
The knowledge about how the social media platform affects a person personally, their behavior, social relation, and mental health is still lacking. Everyone is just getting into it just for the fear of missing out (FOMO).
The Link Between Social Media and Depression
Nowadays teenagers and young adults spend more time online and less communicating with their pear in person. They even interact with their friends more on social media. The connections the social media users form electronically are less satisfying emotionally leaving them isolated and lonely. This can give rise to depression.
A study was conducted to find the link between social media and depression. 143 graduates from Pennsylvania were asked to either limit social media (Facebook, Instagram, twitter or snap chat) use to 10 minutes per day or to continue using them as usual for three weeks. It was found that a limited group showed a significant reduction in loneliness and depression over a three weeks period compared to the other group.
There was a significant decrease in anxiety and fear of missing out in both groups. It was found that limiting the use of social media to 30 minutes in a day could significantly improve the well being.(4)
It can also be that those who are depressed are more inclined to use social media as a way of reaching out.
How Does Social Media Affect Mental Health?
Most of the time you would wonder, how could a medium which brings people close to their friends, become a reason for their loneliness, anxiety or depression.
It is a lot of social comparison one logs on to when logging into a social media site. You are not even aware of the content you are dealing with, might be curated.
Being aware of the curated nature of the online platform, you would never feel like your life is stacking up or miserable. The social comparison is a reason for bringing in the feeling of being on a lacking side.
The more you log in to the social media more is the social comparison and more is the low or negative feeling that crops up.
What is the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)? Is It Real?
FOMO is another mental health effects due to the use of social media.
It is an anxiety which crops in about missing out on an important or an interesting event happening elsewhere, which is aroused by the posts on social media. It can also be a feeling of being left by people you have important social relationships with.
Social media, kind of make us known what our social friends are doing almost any time in the day. It is a kind of a magic crystal ball, getting into which can help us be aware of whatever interesting is happening in the surroundings and where and what is being attended by whom.
And this is obviously not good. It poses a risk of anxiety, loneliness, depression, and a feeling of being left out.
Using social media is not a healthy habit, especially for mental health. Setting up limits and abiding by them can help minimize the mental health damage.