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Effects of Social Media: Positive and Negative

Humans are social animals. The quality of our connections significantly influences our mental health and happiness. Being socially linked to other people may reduce the amount of stress, anxiety, and depression that one may face. It increases self-worth, brings about a sense of comfort and joy, and keeps one from feeling lonely.

Over time, social media has significantly influenced society in different aspects, particularly a person's mental health. It has influenced how we as people communicate and build our narratives. While virtual engagement on social media may not provide the same psychological advantages that face-to-face contact does, here are a few advantages of social media with respect to mental health:


1. Social media anonymity provides a secure platform for people to express themselves and share their own experiences with mental illness. In other words, it enables self-expression without the fear of being stigmatized.


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2. It allows for social support and interventions - A growing number of websites are now assisting social media networks. These websites frequently offer anonymous forums for users to interact and discuss their own experiences. Furthermore, this "social support system" may inspire an individual to develop or join other communities committed to similar goals. This is a good example of "positive emotional contagion."


3. Strengthen current ties - Social media may also assist in managing relationships, particularly those between people who live far apart, dissolving geographical barriers. It can also help persons with impairments to establish relationships, such as the elderly and those with physical problems that limit their movement and prohibit them from leaving the house.




We're used to hearing that social media use is bad for people's mental health and well-being, especially young people. Do you find it surprising that it can have a beneficial impact?

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Most of us now rely on social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter to locate and communicate with one another. While each has advantages, it is important to remember that face-to-face interaction can never be replaced by Social Media. Face-to-face interaction with others activates the hormones responsible for reducing stress and helps one feel happier, healthier, and more optimistic.

Spending too much time on social media, which is designed to bring people together, might make you feel more lonely and alienated —and aggravate mental health concerns. Infinite scrolling and algorithms meant to keep offering related interests retain consumers on these sites for as long as possible. People dedicate a substantial amount of time to social media, as with any fixation, and their mental health suffers as a result. Research has revealed that social media use is related to poor mental health and well-being, especially among young people - it may, for example, raise the likelihood of depression and anxiety symptoms.



Teens, in particular, might experience a great deal of insecurity due to their social media usage. On these platforms, children follow celebrities and develop unrealistic body image ideals. Seeing famous and gorgeous people might give teenagers a bad body image. Low self-esteem and even eating disorders can result from a bad body image. Young people and millennials are frequently inundated with videos and photographs of influencers who seem to lead flawless lives. They are unaware that providing these flawless images is how these individuals generate money, and as a result, they acquire mistaken ideas of what happiness should look like. When their personal lives fall short, they may feel lonely and depressed.

People frequently suffer from information overload because they spend so much time online. While knowledge is valuable, having too much of it may lead to confusion or even a lack of actual proof. Adverse experiences, such as the following, may be propagated through social media:



Fear of missing out (FOMO) - While the notion of FOMO predates social media, it appears that sites like Facebook and Instagram magnify beliefs that others are having more fun or living better lives than you. The feeling that one might be missing out on some things might lower their self-esteem, cause worry, and tempt one to use social media more. FOMO might prompt a person to constantly check their phone every few minutes to check for updates or to reply frantically to every alert—even if it means risking one's life while driving, not getting enough sleep, or placing social media involvement above real-world connections.


Cyberbullying - Approximately 10% of kids report being bullied on social media, while many other users get nasty remarks. For example, Twitter can be a hotspot for spreading rumors that could have damaging consequences, lies, and abuse that could cause long-lasting emotional scars.




Isolation - A University of Pennsylvania study discovered that frequent use of social media sites enhances rather than lowers feelings of loneliness. In contrast, the study found that limiting your use of social media might help you feel less lonely and isolated and increase your general wellness.


Anxiety and depression - To be psychologically healthy, humans require face-to-face interaction. Nothing decreases stress and improves your mood more quickly or efficiently than making eye contact with someone who cares about you. The more you prioritize social media engagement over in-person contacts, the more probable it is that you may develop or aggravate mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.


Self-absorption- Sharing n number of pictures and innermost thoughts on social media can lead to unhealthy self-centeredness and remove an individual from real-life interactions.


In case you're spending too much time on social media and experiencing feelings of unhappiness, discontent, irritation, or loneliness, it may be time to reconsider your online habits and strike a healthy balance.






References

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/social-media-positive-mental-health/#:~:text=The% 20findings%20go%20against%20what,interactions%20in%20people%27s%20busy%20lives https://montarebehavioralhealth.com/social-media-and-mental-health-what-are-the-positive-and- negative-effects/ https://paintedbrain.org/editorial/7-ways-social-media-can-benefit-mental-health-2/ https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm

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