Social media refers to websites and applications that enable users to create, share, and participate in social networking. Networking apps like Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and Twitter are all children of the vast social world of Social media. Today, social media is a common tool for communication and interaction. Social media is also used as a medium for entertainment and recreation purposes through the exchange of content over websites and applications. Mental Health refers to a person’s psychological and emotional well-being.
The Relationship between Social Media and Mental health today
In our global world today, social media has eased consumption and access to educational material for human beings. That means that people have easy access to information today, unlike in the past. However, when gauged on a larger scale, the existence of social media in our contemporary society has devastated people’s mental health. This is portrayed in the following ways.
Increase in Depression: Most social media platforms use features like; “comments, follow, likes” for interaction. The basis for public validation in most communities today is gauged by the number of followers, likes, comments and interactions on content shared. This has made most people, especially the younger audience, feel inadequate and have self-esteem issues when their content does not get the desired attention.
Also, these features on some of these platforms promote cyberbullying and trolling. Cyberbullying and Trolling occur in chat rooms and openly on features like the comment section, where other users lash slurs and obnoxious comments. In worse scenarios, this has fostered suicidal thoughts.
Heightened Anxiety and Inferiority Complex: This is explained by how features on some of these social platforms promote feelings of inferiority and feeling unworthy. Also to note is that, in the virtual world of social media, most people project a falsehood of perfect and glossy lives. Most people have been trapped into craving for the perfect illusion of other people’s glossy existence on social media. They are trapped to feel like their lives are not good enough and worthy of gratification.
In 2021, HBO released a documentary titled Fake Famous: A Kind of survey which explores how social media fame has affected people’s mental health and desire to live the perfect illusion portrayed by the industry of “social media influencers.” According to this survey, it was proven that most of the perfection that is seen on the internet is a world of falsehood.
Lastly, social media is an addictive drug: The endless scrolling on websites and applications like Tiktok, Instagram, and Facebook are responsible for laziness and unproductiveness.
Much as social media has been important in Globalization today, its devastating toll on mental health, especially among young people. This continues to taint the face of its beauty in light of simplifying our lives. There must be a balance between social media and mental health to reduce its negative consequences on our lives.