|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Mental health Social media|
Social media has become a crucial part of contemporary lives. Most people use social media to make new friends, to get news, among other uses. Because of its ability to connect people across the globe, introverts have established strong social relationships leading to improved self-esteem. However, despite their positive impact on users, there have been concerns related to the potential negative impacts. There are both positive and negative effects of social media. Social media can cause severe mental health issues in an entire generation unless proper treatment is given (Abroms, 2019).
Negative Effects of Social Media Use
One of the adverse effects of social media is that it causes anxiety (Woods & Scott, 2016). Social media anxiety disorder is characterized by increased anxiety when a person is away from social media accounts for a few minutes. Social media anxiety disorder is characterized by interruption of conversations to check one's social media accounts, lie to others about time spend on social media, withdrawal from family and friends, decreased interest in other activities, neglect of school or work to comment on social media account, withdrawal symptoms when one is away from social media, nervousness when one cannot access notifications, and adverse effects on professional and personal life(ADAA, 2018). More time spent on social media has been reported to be significantly linked to more significant symptoms of dispositional anxiety (Vannucci, Flannery, & Ohannessian, 2017).
The other negative impact of social media use is that it causes isolation (Primack et al., 2017). It has been established that for shy people, who try to evade social isolation, the use of social media may lead to displacement of the current offline social relationships by filling up time with brittle and shallow online connections thus leading to impaired social skills (Glaser, Liu, Hakim, Vilar, & Zhang, 2018). Additionally, the displacement of offline social relationships when a person excessively uses social media and become addicted to social media leads to a further decline in face-to-face relationships. Moreover, it has been established that excessive use of social media impairs positive social interactions as one becomes isolated (Glaser, Liu, Hakim, Vilar, & Zhang, 2018).
Thirdly, excessive use of social media has been found to lead to depression. Correlational studies have established a positive association between internet addiction and depression (Glaser, Liu, Hakim, Vilar, & Zhang, 2018). This implies that people who excessively use social media are more likely to show depressive symptoms compared to their counterparts who use social media platforms for a shorter duration per day. Internet-related depression is characterized by hopelessness, feeling down, and feeling depressed. Social media-triggered depression is also manifested through limited interest or pleasure in doing things.
Positive Effects of Social Media Use
Social media use has also been reported to have positive effects on users. First, social media can give a sense of connection to others. Specifically, it has been established that when an individual uses a social media platform as an avenue of connecting with other people, he or she feels that he is part of an expansive social media family. Consequently, social media has facilitated friendships. Through increased connectedness to others, social media user's self-esteem is increased because of success in establishing and cultivating of friendships. It is worth noting that any person who intends to seek connectedness is no longer worried about his or her ability to succeed within a social context. This is because social media has given such people a platform to pursue deeper relationships. Social connectedness associated with the use of social media can be described as the subjective awareness of establishing a close relationship with the outside world, especially with other individuals other than their close family members, peers, and friends.
Another crucial positive impact associated with the use of social media is that it has been found to lead to increased social capital. When an individual is seeking to establish a connection with others, especially for introverts, the use of the internet can boost social capital offline. Social capital refers to the information and emotional support an individual retrieve from his or her offline or online social network. It has been established that directed communication and public broadcasting, the primary attributes of social media, have been linked to the strengthening of social bonds and bridging of capital. People with low self-esteem have benefitted the most from social media, especially Facebook, as their self-esteem has been improved through social capital.
Thirdly, social media is beneficial because it can be used to stay informed on current events. Social media users use their platforms to gain news information (Glaser, Liu, Hakim, Vilar, & Zhang, 2018). Three are three significant ways in which social media can be used to gain access to current news. First, people use social media to get news associated with current events from mainstream media. Secondly, social media has been utilized by users to keep abreast about their local community. Lastly, social media has been utilized by users to keep abreast about public affairs and current events.
Solutions to Problems Linked to Social Media Use
To ensure that the users achieve optimum benefits from their use of social media, three solutions are proposed. First, social media must be monitored. Social media monitoring is beneficial in various ways and dimensions. First, monitoring of social media is aimed at ensuring that its user's post content that does has no detrimental impacts on the mental health of fellow users. For instance, the government and other stakeholders, such as the parents, should be at the forefront in ensuring that the children do not access social media because they are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of social media such as anxiety and depression. This is because their brains have not attained full development. Social media monitoring is also crucial in ensuring that fake news is not spread and stop any disinformation.
Another essential solution to the problems associated with the use of social media platforms is that social media giants must take appropriate action and responsibility. Even though most countries have laws that protect free speech, there is a need for social media companies to ensure that social media is not used to spread hate and to misinform the users. Those found violating social media policies should be banned from using the platform in the future to ensure that there is responsible use.
Lastly, a solution to the increased prevalence of mental health problems among social media users is the advertisement for mental health programs on social media. Through such adverts, families of social media users with mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, are capable of ensuring that their close family members get professional treatment before their conditions worsen. Social media users who have manifested mental health problems should urgently seek professional treatment.
Social media is a powerful tool that can benefit society as well as be its downfall. This is attributable to the benefits as well as its potentially detrimental impacts. Social media can benefit society by giving the users a sense of connection to others. This is because social media has enabled people across the world to become one big family and enhanced friendships. Because of social media platforms, people have had opportunities to develop deeper friendships outside their close family members, peers, and friends. Another vital benefit linked to the use of social media is that it has led to increased social capital. Consequently, people with low self-esteem have benefitted the most from social media as their self-esteem has been elevated via social capital. Thirdly, social media is beneficial because it can be used to stay informed on current events, such as to access the latest news or information. Apart from these benefits, social media has its downsides too. One of the downsides linked to the excessive use of social media include is that it has been linked to increased anxiety rates- known as a social media anxiety disorder. Secondly, social media addiction has been found to increase the risk of isolation because of displacement of the current offline social relationships by filling up time with brittle and shallow online connections thus leading to impaired social skills. Lastly, excessive use of social media has been found to lead to depression. Correlational studies have established a positive association between internet addiction and depression.
broms, L. C. (2019). Public health in the era of social media. American Journal of Public Health, 109(Suppl 2), S130-S131. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304947
Glaser, P., Liu, J. H., Hakim, M. A., Vilar, R., & Zhang, R. (2018). Is Social Media Use for Networking Positive or Negative? Offline Social Capital and Internet Addiction as Mediators for the Relationship between Social Media Use and Mental Health. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 47(3), 12-18. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pbh&AN=135983565&site=eds-live
Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Sidani, J. E., Whaite, E. O., Lin, L. yi, Rosen, D., ... Miller, E. (2017). Social media use and perceived social isolation among young adults in the u. S. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2017.01.010
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America . (2018). Social media obsession and anxiety. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/social-media-obsession
Vannucci, A., Flannery, K. M., & Ohannessian, C. M. (2017). Social media use and anxiety in emerging adults. Journal of Affective Disorders, 207, 163-166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.08.040
Woods, H. C., & Scott, H. (2016). #Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence, 51, 41-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.05.008
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