Essay Sample: Negative Effects of Social Media on Emotional State of Its Users

Published: 2022-05-02
Essay Sample: Negative Effects of Social Media on Emotional State of Its Users
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Social psychology Social media
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1795 words
15 min read

Social media use has become prevalent among people of different ages, cultural beliefs, racial identity, and education level. Most people use social media for news, leisure, chatting with friends, advertising for their business, and research. Thus, these sites have become a giant in connecting many users across the world as well as reducing the cost of advertisement and research. However, despite the positive implications of social media, some people use these networking sites to spread ethnic hatred, racial prejudices, moral decay, and terrorist activities. This has proved detrimental to the psychological and emotional growth of social media users. Typically, social media platforms lead to low self-esteem and increased depression, promotes anti-social behavior, deteriorates work and academic performance, encourages disordered eating habits, and spurs immoral and toxic thoughts among their users.

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Many research studies show that social media has adverse effects on the people that use them. One notable effect is on the self-esteem of social networking site users. Andreassen, Pallesen, and Griffiths (2017) did research to establish the association between social media and self-evaluation in which 23,532 Norwegians aged between 18 and 88 years completed a web-based survey. The results obtained revealed that social media impact negatively on the level of self-esteem, lower income, and narcissism on people as they had a variance of 17.5%. In particular, Facebook makes young adults to dangerously try to uphold unrealistic happiness or beauty. The youths do not know that the images they see on social media sites are merely idealized through photoshop and other photo editing tools. These unreal pictures that social media users see online create self-doubt which in turn causes depression or low self-esteem to young adults or adolescents. Therefore, the findings of research affirmed that social media inhibit self-evaluation, thereby leading to a low self-esteem.

In a related research to establish negative impacts of social media on social wellbeing of users, Neira, Corey, and Barber (2014) used a sample of 1,819 Australian adolescents of which 55% were female while 45% were male drawn from 34 schools across Australia. The findings revealed that social network sites were linked to decreased self-esteem among their users, leading to low productivity. Most Australians who are frequent Facebook users were found to have low self-confidence and morale. They envied other social media users who posted pictures portraying happiness, wealth, or good body shape. Further, the research indicated that female social media users had low self-esteem compared to the male. Normally, people tend to compare themselves with people they see on social media sites, particularly celebrities doing an ad. They forget to note that the pictures of celebrity they see are carefully orchestrated for the purposes of appealing to the eyes of the viewers. This makes social media users, particularly the females to have low-drive and self-esteem in life. Most Facebook and other social media users tend to make social comparisons. In addition, they are usually astonished to see ever smiling photos of people on Facebook, making them believe that they are the only people experiencing hard life. The ramification for this is decreased morale and self-esteem.

Even though social media is instrumental in connecting people and for communication, it has a detrimental effect on the social life of its users. Social media use is addictive as most users spend much time commenting, sharing, messaging, tweeting, and liking on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and so on. They, therefore, have little time for meeting and socializing with people in real life. Lack of time for real people makes them have few or no friends in real life. Such people feel lonely in real life. In a study conducted by Bozoglan, Demirer, and Sahin (2013), 384 participants (270 females and 114 males) aged between 18 and 24 years took part in a survey. The study revealed that loneliness and life satisfaction was prevalent among social media users. This accounted for 38% of all the adverse effects of social media that were investigated. The study further revealed that loneliness led to time management, health, and interpersonal problems among social media users.

Another research study by Ali (2016) elucidated that Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook among others vitiate etiquette of most youths who use them. The researcher notes that most users, youths particularly, are arrogant as evident in their comments, posts, and messages on social media. Normally, arrogance instills fear in people that the youths communicate to. Consequently, this creates a vacuum in communication as it devalues social interaction between the youths that use social media and their listeners. Other than arrogance, cyberbullying and trolling on social media adversely affect social skills of social media users. The victims of these online criminal activities develop a fear of conversing with other people, a condition that makes social media users to acquire antisocial skills (Griffiths, 2014).

Nowadays, the youths are glued to their handsets in public functions and gatherings such as family meetings, colleges, churches, and rallies. They are unable to hold a few minutes talk or even greet the people sitting near them. This behavior completely erodes physical interaction between the youths who are social media addicts and the rest of the population, leading to the development of antisocial behavior. In fact, most social media users would prefer watching online videos and communicating with online friends than making real friends through physical interactions. Such people lack public speaking skills as they are shy to face a large multitude. Farhan (2017) found out that social media platforms devalue an individual's public speaking skills. The study related lack of good public speaking skills to lack of practicing the skills in real life. Internet users are so ingrained in their social media accounts, a condition that makes them develop stage fear since they hardly stand in front of people in real life. Thus, it is imperative to note that social media deprives people of face-to-face interactions which denies them an opportunity to practice their public speaking skills in real life.

Another negative effect of social media is on the academic and work performance. The use of social media has increased among school going children due to the ease of use and access to smartphones and laptops. Students are addicted to the internet and social media to the extent that they spend most of their time on social networking sites. Students who over-use Facebook generally experience a drop in their academic performance. Mensah and Nizam (2016) explain that modern-day students spend most of their time online even in lecture halls and classrooms, thus they end up not paying attention to the concepts taught in class. Subsequently, this makes their performance to dwindle as they are unable to comprehend questions and concepts that were taught in class. The time that could be spent learning, innovating, or doing academic research is wasted as a result of the passion of social media users (students) to meet new online friends. In a bid to determine social media implication on academic performance, Mensah and Nizam (2016) interviewed 120 students from different colleges in Malaysia. The researchers then used ANOVA to analyze the data obtained. From their research, they obtained a negative beta value of -0.303 and a p-value of 0.000 (less than 0.05). The interpretation of this result is that students who are engrained in social networking sites are more likely to have a drop in their academic performance. Social media negatively affects the performance of employees in a workplace.

Social media also leads to poor performance at work. Some of the employees use social networking sites for personal use such as chatting, commenting, tweeting, liking, sharing other friends' posts. This reduces their productivity as they waste economic time that would be used to improve the company they work for. In the contemporary world, employees in a workplace use social media daily for personal gain. Unrestricted social media use in a workplace impacts negatively on workplace productivity. Instead of concentrating on their work, employees indulge in social media platforms, a condition that makes the company they work for to incur losses. One notable example of work that social media becomes detrimental to those employees that directly handle clients or customers. They are required to give attention to customers so that they meet their needs, thus customer satisfaction. Other than the loss of productivity, social media use by employees results in employee solicitation, defamation, misinformation, and loss of privacy and confidentiality of business information (Shabir, Hameed, Safdar, & Gilani, 2014).

Social networking sites have emerged as disordered eating risk factors among their users. In particular, there is a significant temporal association between Facebook users and eating disorder. Mabe, Forney, and Keel (2014) conducted a quantitative study in which 960 women did a self-evaluation survey and additional 84 women randomly assigned to various sites such as Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram for 20 minutes. A cross-sectional survey indicated that frequent users of social media sites were greatly associated with eating disorders. In particular, Facebook influences women into maintaining certain body shapes and weight as those of online celebrity. Normally, these women desire to have similar body morphology as those of their online friends who are their role models. Unbeknownst to them, the body shapes they see on social media sites are unreal as they are photo-edited. Thus, women users usually engage in irregular eating habits such as skipping of meals or avoiding certain foods in a bid to shed off some weight. For this reason, it is evident that Facebook contributes to eating disorders as it maintains eating pathology risk. A related research by Alperstein (2015) sought to establish the implication of social media, particularly Pinterest, on the body morphology and eating habits of women. A sample size of 118 women was selected and an online experiment conducted. The research established that Pinterest contributes to extreme weight loss in women due to social comparison. The scholars found out that Pinterest users endorse an ideal body shape and size for women. As a result, women tend to follow fitness boards that are present on Pinterest. The ramification for this is the development of eating disorders as a result of irregular eating habits.

There is a community on Tumblr that advocate for anorexia. In his research, De Choudhury (2015) did an empirical analysis on many Tumblr posts in a bid to establish how Tumblr promotes anorexia among its users as a lifestyle of choice. The researcher noted that several Tumblr users make pro-anorexia posts on Tumblr which trigger people to enact anorexia as the preferred lifestyle. Usually, pro-anorexia advocates have a cognitive impairment aas well as possessing emotional state of self-harm and social isolation. De Choudhury (2015) further suggests that there is a need for establishing a pro-recovery community on Tumblr that will serve the purpose of educating the pro-anorexia community on the health risks associated with anorexia. Also, Rodgers, Lowy, Halperin, and Franko (2016) confirm that exposure to pro-eating disorder online sites have an adverse effect on body image dissatisfaction and eatinsg pathology. In their meta-analysis study, the scholars revealed that those who...

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