Why Is Social Media Addiction Bad for Mental Health?
One of the greatest chapters in the book of internet is social media. It facilitates our communication with friends and family regardless of location; it provides access to information scattered over the web in one place; and it also promotes new acquaintances. Social media networks have undoubtedly become an integral part of our lives today because they are quite practical and convenient to use. However, the widespread use of the internet has also allowed critics to spring up and talk about the negative influences of social media. It is a fact that excessive consumption or exposure to one thing can lead to various problems. It is always recommended to stick to moderation.
This is also key to balancing the impact of social media. There is no need to eliminate the use of social media networks from your life as long as you don’t develop an addiction to it. One of the primary reasons why social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are criticized is because they can lead to severe addiction. The pleasure centers in your brain are stimulated from social media activity as you get positive reinforcement through the likes and comments on your posts. This leads to the production of dopamine that can cause drug-related desires, hence leading to social network addiction.
Even though you aren’t eating or drinking anything dangerous as in the case of drug and alcohol addiction, dependence on social media networks also has its downsides and most of them are associated with your mental health. Social addiction can inflict a lot of damage to your psyche and mental health, which can lead to long-term effects on your personality and confidence, thereby influencing your future. Some of the mental health problems that you may suffer due to social media addiction are discussed below:
One of the major problems with social media is that posts typically present an idealized version of what’s going on in everyone’s life. Usually, what you see isn’t actually reality because everyone has their problems and issues. Nevertheless, you end up comparing your own life with that of others and think less of your own. If people in your newsfeed seem to be having a good time, it will make you envious and affect your mood negatively. Research has shown that widespread use of social media can demotivate people, make them aggressive and cause a decline in confidence.
Social media networks are used by people of different age groups ranging from adolescents to adults. The anonymity and ease of use of social networks have benefitted in some ways, but have also made cyberbullying rampant. Social media networks have a critical nature as bullies are able to hide behind their PCs and are detached from the damage they do with their words. There is also a void between actions and consequences, which has given rise to cyberbullying. Furthermore, cyberbullying isn’t just restricted to teenagers and also happens with adults. It can be a scarring experience to become a victim and can lead to plenty of stress, which leads to a decline in mental health.
Even though the whole point of social media is to allow people to stay connected with others, it doesn’t have the same satisfaction and element associated with actual human interaction, which is a crucial human need. In fact, in some ways, it is too distant and this is not a good thing for those who become dependent on social media as it can lead to social anxiety. Those who are already suffering from this problem will find it even more difficult to indulge in face-to-face interaction. Real human interaction can become extremely scary for people as it is becoming common to hide behind your computer screens and not go out at all.
Social media is tailor-made for decreasing our productivity because you spend hours looking at everyone else’s life when you could be doing something else. This means that most of your time is spent viewing photos, liking posts, and writing comments, and these activities don’t really require the use of your intellectual abilities. They aren’t intellectual at all and distract you from activities such as reading, studying informational articles on the internet, etc. Your brain doesn’t get enough food for development and your intellectual abilities can decline in this way. Your brain will slow down and not be able to respond quickly in various situations. The moment you realize you are dealing with such a situation, you should immediately learn how to delete your Facebook account or how to deactivate Twitter.
Fatigue and Stress
When using social media, you are constantly switching from one task to another because there is just so much to do and see. This information abundance can tire out your brain, especially when it is received chaotically. Your brain needs time and room to absorb data and process the information, but multitasking on social media makes your brain work overtime. This can prevent it from relaxing and it will become exhausted as it tries to deal with the barrage of information. Hence, fatigue puts your mind under a lot of stress and you may not be able to concentrate on anything at all.
For a lot of people, social media has become a place for avoiding anything unpleasant in their lives. In the short-term, this may seem like a good idea, but it is definitely not so in the long term. You are basically living in denial and suppressing your emotions. Eventually, the bubble will pop and this can wreak havoc on your mental health. The buildup of pressure and negativity occurs because of social media addiction and it can lead to mental and emotional disturbance.
Social media use also creates the fear of missing out (FOMO) because you want to do what everyone else is doing. This evokes anxiety and will give rise to negative feelings and emotions, which create mental health problems, stress and anxiety disorders.
These are some of the ways social media can make you susceptible to mental health issues, however, as long as you use social media in a positive light, then addiction shouldn’t be an issue.