Free Essay: How Social Media Contribute to Anxiety and Depression

Published: 2023-03-21
Free Essay: How Social Media Contribute to Anxiety and Depression
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Social media Depression Anxiety disorder
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1131 words
10 min read

One notable difference between the lives of teenagers and earlier generations is the time they spend on social media networks. They connect more electronically compared to their parents or previous generations. Psychological experts argue that one of the causes of depression is the connection through media (Miller 1). It is because users of social media get emotionally dissatisfied and in the process, they feel isolated leading to stress since they spend little time with family and friends to share life experiences. However, others argue that social networks enhance connections among people; thus, enhancing social life. In this regard, this research paper investigates how social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

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Research Background

Many psychologists argue that incidences of depression increased with the development of smartphones and the internet. Starting from 2010 to 2015, depression levels among young people increased by 33% (Miller 1). It is because access to the internet increase and many young people accessed smartphones. In the same period, the number of girls committing suicide increase by 65% compared to previous periods (Miller 1). 2007 marked the introduction of smartphones and 92% of teenagers and young adults owned smartphones by 2015 (Miller 1). There is a direct relationship between an increase in symptoms of depression and the adoption of electronic devices and internet connections. Also, it is during this period that many colleges and universities introduced counseling centers in their institutions to support students undergoing depression.

Every year in the United States, depression and anxiety affected 7% and 18% of citizens respectively. Individuals suffering from anxiety are more likely to seek medication and four times likely to be hospitalized compared to those without the condition. Social networks have been recognized as one of the sources of anxiety and depression in the US (Shensa, Sidani, Amanda, Escobar-Viera & Primark 2). Many people, especially young people create and share information online, using platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The average amount of time young adults spend on social networks increases annually, coinciding with an increase in depression symptoms. Although social media users argue that it has brought a positive in society regarding information sharing, it has created negative online experiences, affecting the health status of the users (Shensa et al., 2). Besides affecting the mental health among addicted users, social networks have a significant economic impact since young adults spend too much time, instead of engaging in economic activities. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the contribution of social media so that teenagers and young adults can take measures to avoid spending too much time online.

Research Aim

The research paper aims to identify the contribution of social media to anxiety and depression. Prolonged anxiety could lead to depression since an individual cannot stay long without accessing their smartphones to browse trending topics, or what others have posted. Although it has improved communication and connection, it has a direct effect on the growth of depression and anxiety symptoms. Therefore, it seeks to evaluate the contribution of social media towards anxiety and depression.

Research Findings and Analysis

There is a direct relationship between social media and low self-esteem. Depression and anxiety are high among teenagers and young adults because of low self-esteem since they could not match the living standards of their friends and family online. For example, girls compete posting their pictures online, aiming to become prettier than others. Some would want to look richer, but in real life, they are not. Also, after posting something, they become anxious to know what people think about their posts. In some cases, they receive negative comments and this makes them feel low (Miller 1). In the process, they develop low self-esteem since they do not match the postings of their friends, eventually leading to depression due to prolonged anxiety.

Secondly, social media contributes to anxiety and depression by depriving individuals of sleep. Statistics demonstrate that about 60% of teenagers and young adults look at their phones in their last hour to sleep (Miller 4). The blue light screens affect the ability of an individual to fall asleep; hence, they take too long to sleep only to sleep for a few hours before they wake up again. Also, stressing mobile phones when about to sleep can be stressing throughout the night affecting sleep. For example, social media users expect positive comments and also they want to receive many replies compared to their friends (Miller 4). However, it may turn out that they do not get commendations as intended. In the process, they will sleep with stress due to anxiety, which eventually leads to depression due to inadequate sleep.

Since young people spend a lot of time on social networks, they have little time to engage in healthy activities besides a feeling of isolation. Physical is essential for healthy development. They do not have sufficient time to engage in activities that would create a sense of achievement and connection with other people with unique experiences required for growth (Miller 4). Social media is addicting although it does not add any value to the achievement of users. Physical exercises are essential for brain development and keeping fit. Individuals forget about their challenges in life when they engage in involving social activities (Sukel 2). Therefore, social networks not only deprive connectedness but also time to engage in physical exercises to manage depression and anxiety.

Based on the information above, various stakeholders should collaborate to guide teenagers and young adults effectively. The first way to overcome anxiety and depression among social media users is balancing the focus by ensuring they distribute their time to various tasks, instead of spending all the time on social media platforms (Miller 4). Also, the users should turn off notifications in their smartphones so that they do not get distracted when doing other tasks. The method would manage anxiety among young and in the process; they would become responsible for social media use.


Although social media has improved the creation of messages and communication, it has negative online experience. Among the negative effects include anxiety and depression since users get addicted. Most young people want to live a different online life so that they match the lifestyle of their friends. Due to a lot of time, they spend online; they develop low self-esteem if they do not get positive responses and deprive users of sleep. Also, it hinders teenagers from engaging in physical exercises necessary for healthy development, as well as keeping the body fit to overcome mental health conditions. Therefore, users should balance their activities well and turn off notifications when they want to concentrate on other things.

Works Cited

Miller, Caroline. Does Social Media Cause Depression? 2018. Web. 18 Dec 2019.

Shensa Ariel, Sidani Jaime, Amanda Mary, Escobar-Viera, Cesar & Primark Brian. Social Media Use and Depression and Anxiety Symptoms: A Cluster Analysis. American Journal of Health Behavior, vol. 42, no. 2, 2018, pp. 116-128.

Sukel, Kayt. Understanding the links between social media and depression. 2019. Web. 18 Dec 2019.

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