Social media giant Instagram made waves last year as it sought to reduce the impact of likes on mental health. But have these efforts contributed meaningfully in terms of addressing underlying issues? According to Jackie Sperling, a psychologist at McLean Hospital who specializes in anxiety disorders among youth, while this step is positive – there are still potential pitfalls that may need to be addressed.
“Instagram’s like restriction can help protect against superficial measures such as popularity being attached to content,” she says “but comparison and feedback loops still exist.” Let’s take a closer look at how social media affect mental health.
What is the impact of social media on mental health?
Our mental and emotional well-being benefits tremendously from strong social connections. From stress relief to improved self-worth, having people in our lives provides us with joy and comfort while protecting against loneliness. Unfortunately, not everyone has a large support network or access to these vital human relationships – but luckily it’s never been easier for us to stay socially connected! Whether through distant video chats or on popular platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, technology gives many of us the chance to find true connections even when physically apart. While virtual interaction may suffice temporarily for some of life’s moments – nothing beats meeting up face-to-face.
The positive impact of social media
- Social media can help to connect people who share similar interests.
- Social media can be used as a platform to raise awareness about important issues.
- Social media can help people to stay informed about current events.
- Social media can be used to connect with friends and family members who live far away.
- Social media can help businesses to promote their products and services. What is the impact of media influences on mental ill health?
The negative aspects of social media
Despite being a relatively recent phenomenon, research into the long-term effects of social media is ever-growing. Unfortunately, studies continually point to an alarming connection between excessive use and psychological distress – including depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal ideation.
- Inadequacy about your life or appearance. Social media can unfortunately cause us to fall victim to feelings of insecurity and envy when we compare ourselves with the seemingly perfect lives our friends portray. While it is true that many photos are manipulated, seeing snapshots into other people’s highlight reels at times triggers a sense of dissatisfaction in our own lives – no matter how much we know these posts aren’t real life!
- FOMO. FOMO the Fear of Missing Out is a very real phenomenon, and it has been around for much longer than social media. But sites like Facebook and Instagram can send many into a cycle that is hard to break out of – the nagging feeling that everyone else is having better experiences or leading more fulfilling lives can affect your self-esteem, lead to anxiety, as well as create an unhealthy addiction-like relationship with tech devices. Some may find themselves constantly glancing at their phones in search of updates every few minutes; compulsively responding to notifications might cause them to take risks when driving on roads or skip sleep hours just so they could stay caught up online instead of nurturing relationships in person
- Cyberbullying. In today’s online world, one in ten teens suffers from the constant threat of bullying on social media. Unfortunately, platforms such as Twitter can be prime avenues for toxic behavior with users often faced with malicious lies and offensive comments that will not soon disappear.
- Isolation. A recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that limiting time spent on social media apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram could lead to improved feelings of self-worth. Contrary to popular belief, researchers determined that excess usage resulted in higher levels of loneliness – stressing the importance of effective boundaries when it comes to our online relationships!
- Depression and anxiety. While it can be tempting to prioritize connections made through social media over face-to-face interactions, the reality is that human beings still need regular physical contact with others in order to remain mentally healthy. Studies have shown that nothing helps reduce stress and lift our spirits faster than spending quality time talking directly with someone we care about – so why not make some time for a dinner date or coffee catchup? Your mental health will thank you!
How to protect yourself and your loved ones from the negative impact of social networks?
If you are not ready to take a decisive step and completely abandon social networks, we can offer you another way – VPN. With the help of a VPN, the user hides their activities on social networks. Another VPN ability is to unblocker sites that are blocked in your area. With all this, VeePN also supports a free trial version, so you don’t have to go broke paying your VPN bills. Thus, a VPN is both a protection and an opportunity for users to get more content while being safe.
Social media can be a great tool for staying connected, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t the only way. Too much time spent online can lead to some serious psychological issues and even physical health problems. Set boundaries with yourself and your loved ones, establish healthy habits around screen time, and prioritize in-person relationships. All this will help offset the negative impact and multiply the positive effects of social networks.