Social media has become a huge part of our lives. Around 40% of the world’s population use social media and spend on average two hours each day scrolling and updating social media. It can be argued that it has become a platform that has replaced our social life and face to face interactions, but actually is social media as bad as we think?
There are studies that prove that heavy social media can be harmful to our mental health. Researchers in Australia in 2014 found that participants stated that they experienced lower moods after 20 minutes of social media usage compared to those who merely browsed online. Afterwards, the study concluded that participants' mood lowered because they felt it was a waste of their time. There is also a link to depression and feelings of worthlessness due to users having a distorted and misleading view of others’ lives. In addition, some social media users have reported low self-esteem issues due to viewing other people’s selfies online. Unrealistic filters, clever angles, and lighting in selfies are to blame for this.
However, there are some benefits to social media. Social media is a fantastic platform to create and maintain relations with family, friends, work, and even potential customers. Social media platforms enable us to connect with anyone around the world and create a sense of community, which has been a fundamental asset during the pandemic. In the UK, we have the privilege to post our views equally without restriction with the opportunity for each of us to be heard. Social media is also extremely beneficial for those of us who struggle to connect with people face to face. Introverts or individuals with social challenges are able to build relationships with others who they might not have had the opportunity or the confidence to do in person.
In conclusion, there are many negatives and positives to social media usage, but it is wrong to state that social media is universally bad. There a lot of advantages to modern life by using social media which can beneficial to our personal lives and professional lives. Everyone is affected differently by social media and it depends on the individual’s personality and pre-existing conditions. Like fast food, social media can be used and enjoyed in moderation. Excessive use of social media is not advisable, especially for those individuals with anxiety. It is important for us to build healthy social media habits and make sure we follow people that inspire us to better ourselves.
By Rachel at Cheswold Park Hospital