Social media has become an important part of our lives and has a huge contribution in shaping our behavior, perception, judgment and decision making ability. Life seems incomplete without it.
According to the 2021 report by Backlinko , there are 4.4 billion active social media users, while 56.8% of the world population active on social media is aged 13 and above. But the question here is, is social media affecting our lives more than we are aware of, and how come we do not bother about its negative impacts on our mental health?
Social media has made our lives easier in many ways. We can easily connect with family and friends anywhere in the world, but with all this proficiency we can’t ignore its bad effects on our health.
Social media is like a race in which one’s success or failure can be determined through the number of likes and comments on a post.. One the basis of this one can start comparing himself /herself with others. “Looking at those images and seeing that these things you want are being awarded with lots of likes”can cause anxiety and depression, said Choukas Bradley. On the other hand, the comment section has become an online source of bullying, harassment, trolling and threats. This affects our mental and emotional health in a negative way. Due to this negativity, individual may become suicidal.
When a person gets a lot of likes or comments on their social media, they become addicted to it and their satisfaction level increases which as a result increases in the release of dopamine, by this one gains temporary pleasure but this addiction afterwards leads to permanent mental health issues like anxiety, depression and stress.
People react to what they watch and listen to. Social media has set beauty standards as well, if you are fair and tall then you are beautiful. Individuals consciously or unconsciously start comparing themselves with these set standards. Too many celebrities sharing their lives creates a huge impact on the audience as a result individuals want to follow their footsteps and want to become like them. For example, to gain the perfect perceived body shape, an adolescent can develop an eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa. If one has not gained the perceived body image or is not able to achieve the society’s set standard, individuals suffer from low self-esteem and tend to isolate themselves.
According to the study of Primack, those who spend more time on social media feel more socially isolated than their counterparts who don’t use social media. Too much social integration leads to depression and anxiety which is also a cause of altruistic suicide.
Cyber-victimization is associated with severe mental health conditions. Cyberbullying and Cyber-victimization is bullying someone by using technologies. Bullying someone online, trolling, to leak others private pictures or Photoshop them in an inappropriate way has now become common on social media. Cyber-victimization is correlated with different mental/emotional health conditions like anxiousness, low self-esteem, deviant behavior, social incompetence, suicidal ideation and loneliness.
Everyone is responsible for their own lives. one can turn circumstances into their favor, for example, many among us are using social media for a better cause. So, be aware of its use and what it is costing you.
Written by Maria Saif
Edited by Amna Sheikh