DOES SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE AN EFFECT ON OUR MENTAL HEALTH?
Social media and the internet have been one of the most radical technological breakthroughs in recent history. Never has the world been so connected. Just decades ago, it was impossible to deliver a message halfway across the world, instantly and almost free of charge. It was very demanding and expensive to get exposure for creative work, and it was made worse by physical borders and boundaries. Today we live in a completely new age, but it has not come without a cost.
A lot of work and research has gone into the development of the social media platforms we use in order to make them as addictive as possible in order to bring in as much profit as possible. Excessive social media connection has been associated with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and other mental health issues.
On social media, everyone attempts to paint an unrealistic picture about their lifestyles. Heavily edited profile pictures deceive the world into thinking that users lead a perfect life. We engage in unhealthy comparisons between our lives and the perfection we find on social media. We compare our faces with the spotless beauties on social media who often use various techniques to conceal blemishes. This in combination with simple photo editing techniques creates a picture of perfection that most people will never see in their lives.
Also when we put content out on social media, we basically expose ourselves to the opinions of thousands of people. We risk exposing ourselves to hate speech, cyber bullies and other nay Sayers that can negatively affect our mode.
Social media is also one of the main ways that fake news and rumors are spread. It can be done anonymously and to a very large audience and it can spread like wild fire. Sadly people base opinions on these falsehoods which causes division, fuels racism, inferiority and superiority complexes. Our lives on social media do not reflect our actual social lives. Having many friends on social media does not mean you have many friends in reality. Social media is known to be associated with anxiety and depression.
Of course, social media has many benefits, for instance, it can help children to develop their social skills, but the points above are reason why caution needs to be exercised when dealing with social media and the internet as a whole.