The Influence of Social Media: Impacts seen on mental health

Hope Beelman, IV Leader Staff

Over the years, social media has developed into a necessary daily activity for many, if not most, people around the world. Social media networks and applications allow society to communicate among each other as well as share and create content for a multitude of reasons which range from posting fulfilling, optimistic photographs to spreading informational messages. The constant use of social media not only results in positive influences, but also leads to negative effects that may hurt one’s health.

Social media provides society with a different form of socialization due to technology, and with that comes greater connection and convenience. An article from Lifespan.org titled “Social Media: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” discusses the benefits and downsides to social media and its impact on people, primarily teenagers.

A handful of positives to social media according to the article are the following: “staying connected with family and friends worldwide via email, text, FaceTime, etc.,” “quick access to information and research,” “banking and bill pay at our fingertips,” and “online learning, job skills, content discovery.” The concepts of raising awareness for what one believes in and using marketing tools to one’s advantage are also listed as a part of the positive side to social media.

Along with the useful aspects of social media, there are many ways that it can be helpful for and toward mental health. PaintedBrain.org touches on these ideas in their article titled “7 Ways Social Media Can Benefit Mental Health.” Social media has the ability to relieve loneliness by introducing different ways to communicate, inspire healthy lifestyle adjustments, aid research for medical purposes, introduce social support, develop a sense of community, strengthen friendships and relationships, and provide helpful advice for teenagers.

Like most things in life, there is almost always some negative affects alongside the positive. According to Lifespan.org, social media can lead to a fear of missing out, self-image and self-confidence issues, addiction, lack of in-person friendships and relationships, and usage that develops into a habit.

HelpGuide.org states a list of signs that social media may be impacting one’s overall mental health under their article titled “Social Media and Mental Health.” Everyone has different experiences with social media, and the way that it can affect one’s mood varies from person to person.

People may tend to notice that their time on social media is increasing while their time spent with real world friends is significantly decreasing or that they began to compare themselves to those on social media. These signs, along with many others including “suffering from sleeping problems,” may all be indicators that one’s mental health is being impacted by social media.

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