Uploaded by Viktor Radchenko

Impact of Social Media on Our Lives

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Does Social Media Use Put You at Risk of Depression?
A study published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are
more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies
linking social media and depression. However, why exactly do platforms like
Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for
sure but there are some explanations.
About depression and social media
Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and
behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or
make existing symptoms of depression worse explains the study above senior
author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se,
but how we use it.
Are you affected?
If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you
may be suffering from “social media depression”. Look for symptoms like:
 Low self-esteem,
 Negative self-talk,
 A low mood,

Irritability,
 A lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

Social withdrawal.
If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you
feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media
depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media
depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social
media users. As explained in a review study published in Cyberpsychology,
Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to
depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their
mental health.
How social media use leads to depression
We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is
this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D., social media use skews your
perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most
people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and
appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized
image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is
better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This
is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare
themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion
that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.
Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on
mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely
to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through
social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is
lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Pantic. What this
means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around,
possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.
Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy,
jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your
depressive symptoms.
Why we need to take this seriously
Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to
epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to
start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are
especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.
A bit of advice
Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding
Facebook and depression, they still do prove that social media use may not be
a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these
studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of
such findings. One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their
social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook
on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.
Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend
too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to
lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.
If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider
the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from
Links Psychology:
Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people
portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but
rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this
behavior can lead to negative self-talk.
Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is
great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world
interactions.
Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure
to be careful with what you post online.
Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the
anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense
personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.
The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship
with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective
perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you
are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is
bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell
your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some
advice on this topic.
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