Social Media and Your Mental Health
Most Americans use social media and spend their extra minutes or hours scrolling through feeds for entertainment. Recent research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicated that social media use in children and teenagers has led to an uptick in depression and bullying behavior. The following outlines the various effects social media has on mental health.

Addiction

While experts are not certain that internet use in itself is addictive, it is clear that social media can lead people into negative habits and thinking. Those who reported heavy use of social media also exhibited numerous signs of addiction:

- Escapism

- Preoccupation

- Neglect of personal responsibilities

- Concealing the escalating behavior

- Withdrawal symptoms

The research also found that although different personality types, such as extroverts and introverts, used social media in different ways, all types exhibited anxiety when they were not allowed to engage online.

Sadness

A study conducted several years ago indicated that the more people used social media, the less happy they seemed to be. While networks like Facebook provide instant connection, it is not of the same quality or emotional depth as in-person interactions. Long-term use of social media in young adults led to intense feelings of social isolation, which is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person, mentally and emotionally.

Unhealthy Comparison

The main reason for perceived social isolation is the comparison factor. People tend to show only the positive parts of their lives on social media, which causes users to fall into a comparison trap and feel envious. Some of the life events that trigger this response are:

- Birth of a child

- New job

- New house

- Marriage

- Graduation

- Awards

Researchers noted that in offline life, only positive events brought out the comparative thinking while both positive and negative events triggered the response on social media.

False Bonding

The average person can manage a network of about 150 friends and acquaintances at any given time. Having a large number of connections on social media does not equal being more social overall. Any type of connection requires personal interaction to keep it going. Virtual friendships often leave people feeling lonely if they do not have emotional support in their offline lives. Loneliness is linked to a number of mental health issues, and it can even lead to an early death.

Social media can keep family and friends connected over the miles and across the years, but it should not be used to fill time or to gain an emotional lift. Those are signs that something is lacking, and taking a break may provide insight into what needs to change.
Most Americans use social media and spend their extra minutes or hours scrolling through feeds for entertainment. Recent research conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicated that social media use in children and teenagers has led to an uptick in depression and bullying behavior. The following outlines the various effects social media has on mental health.

Addiction

While experts are not certain that internet use in itself is addictive, it is clear that social media can lead people into negative habits and thinking.


Those who reported heavy use of social media also exhibited numerous signs of addiction:

- Escapism

- Preoccupation

- Neglect of personal responsibilities

- Concealing the escalating behavior

- Withdrawal symptoms

The research also found that although different personality types, such as extroverts and introverts, used social media in different ways, all types exhibited anxiety when they were not allowed to engage online.

Sadness

A study conducted several years ago indicated that the more people used social media, the less happy they seemed to be. While networks like Facebook provide instant connection, it is not of the same quality or emotional depth as in-person interactions. Long-term use of social media in young adults led to intense feelings of social isolation, which is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person, mentally and emotionally.

Unhealthy Comparison

The main reason for perceived social isolation is the comparison factor. People tend to show only the positive parts of their lives on social media, which causes users to fall into a comparison trap and feel envious. Some of the life events that trigger this response are:

- Birth of a child

- New job

- New house

- Marriage

- Graduation

- Awards

Researchers noted that in offline life, only positive events brought out the comparative thinking while both positive and negative events triggered the response on social media.

False Bonding

The average person can manage a network of about 150 friends and acquaintances at any given time. Having a large number of connections on social media does not equal being more social overall. Any type of connection requires personal interaction to keep it going. Virtual friendships often leave people feeling lonely if they do not have emotional support in their offline lives. Loneliness is linked to a number of mental health issues, and it can even lead to an early death.

Social media can keep family and friends connected over the miles and across the years, but it should not be used to fill time or to gain an emotional lift. Those are signs that something is lacking, and taking a break may provide insight into what needs to change.