Social media has become a ubiquitous presence in our daily lives, with billions of people using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to connect with friends, family, and even complete strangers. But is this constant exposure to the highlight reels of other people’s lives affecting our mental health? In this blog post, we will dive into the research on the relationship between social media use and mental health, and explore some of the questions that people who feel social media is having a negative impact on their wellbeing might have.
First, we’ll take a look at some of the ways in which social media can impact mental health, both positively and negatively. On one hand, social media can provide a sense of community and connection, allowing people to connect with others who share similar interests and experiences. On the other hand, social media can also contribute to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression, as users compare their own lives to the carefully curated and often idealized versions of others’ lives they see online. Overall, studies show that social media use is linked to a decline in mental health.
- The average person spends two hours and 27 minutes on social media every day.
- It’s estimated that 210 million people worldwide are addicted to social media.
- More than half of all drivers admit to checking social media behind the wheel.
- Overuse of social media in children and teens can literally rewire their brains.
- Roughly 42 percent of teens admit that social media keeps them from connecting with friends in person.
- In a recent survey, 70 percent of teens said they feel left out or excluded because of social media.
- Suicide rates among teens have increased in the age of social media.
- Social media is more addictive than alcohol and cigarettes.
Health Alternatives to Antiquated Social Networking Platforms
Recently, new social media platforms have emerged that are designed with the specific goal of promoting positive mental health and well-being. These healthy alternatives to outdated social media aim to foster a safer and more supportive online community by implementing features that promote self-care, limit negativity and harassment, and encourage users to connect with one another in meaningful ways. Some of the ways these new platforms are doing better in preventing mental health issues include:
- Time Management Tools: Many of these new platforms have built-in tools that allow users to set limits on their daily usage, ensuring that they don’t get lost in a never-ending scroll.
- Focus on Positivity: These platforms encourage users to share and connect with others around uplifting and inspiring content, promoting positivity and helping to counteract the negativity that is often present on other social media sites.
- Encouraging Real-World Connections: These platforms also place an emphasis on encouraging real-world connections and activities, promoting offline interaction and helping to reduce the feeling of isolation that can come with heavy social media usage.
- User-First Approach: The development teams behind these new platforms are focused on user-centered design, taking into consideration the potential impact that social media can have on mental health and well-being. This includes designing interfaces that are easy to use and understand, and implementing robust moderation and reporting tools to help keep the community safe.
- No Algorithms: Unlike other social media platforms, these new platforms do not use algorithms to control the content users see in their feeds. This means that users have more control over what they see, and are less likely to be exposed to triggering or negative content.
Overall, these new social media platforms are doing their best to create a safer, more positive online space that promotes mental health and well-being. By implementing these tools and features, they aim to provide users with a more supportive and healthy online community.
Common questions that people might have about the impact of social media on their mental health
Some people might wonder whether limiting their social media use could help improve their wellbeing, or whether certain types of social media are more harmful than others. Others might be curious about the effects of social media on specific populations, such as teenagers or older adults.
To help answer these questions and shed light on the complex relationship between social media and mental health, let’s consider the latest research and refer to experts in the field. Studies have shown that manipulative algorithms used to drive ads and daily engagements have the most negative impacts. Young adults are most susceptible as their developing minds are taking in the world around them.
These insights influence the ways governing bodies can help shape the future of social media and mental health. Organizations like Accountable Tech and the LogOff Movement are helping to drive government policy to limit big tech from exploiting the mental health of young adults. Some examples include:
- Preventing images uploaded of children to reach widespread dissemination
- Restricting those under 18 from changing the private profile status
- Stopping the intentional tech development of virtual affirmation that drives vulnerable people to addictive tendencies
- Ensuring all content is deletable
- Permanently banning pages that engage in sexual exploitation
Research shows that social media can have a profoundly negative effect on individual and collective mental health
We have seen a recent push to fix this problem, and many new platforms have been attempting to address it. The optimist in us thinks the future is bright, and older social media companies will be limited by public policy and a new social reality. Future generations will be more aware of common pitfalls of social media and they will flock to known alternatives. Healthy social platforms emerge everyday, and only time will tell which ones climb to popularity.
Overall, our goal in this blog post has been to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of the research on social media and mental health, and to help people better understand the ways in which social media use may be impacting their wellbeing. Whether you’re someone who has concerns about the impact of social media on your mental health, or simply curious about the topic, we hope that this blog post provides you with valuable insights and resources.
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Originally published at https://therr.app.