Social Media and Depression: New Issues for a New Age

 

The arrival of social media has made an impact on people of all ages, all over the world. The ability to connect to others from anywhere allowed for existing friendships to flourish and new friendships to be made. But with such a positive impact came downfalls as well.

As social media has evolved, so has the use of it, and a competitive atmosphere can be easily found on networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn. A natural desire has led social media down a path that rewards liked posts, influential presences, and a new social hierarchy. No longer does status have to come from your place in the world, rather your place in the world of social media can define and create your status.

The Influence of Social Media on Mental Health

While the original intent of social media was based on creating connections, it has become so much more. The importance of social media in people’s lives has begun to rear its ugly head, and some of the following issues have made themselves present.

Fear or Feeling of Inadequacy
Social media lends itself to competition, and in this competition people find themselves comparing their lives to the lives of others. Social media influencers go out of their way to manipulate the content they post to create a positive persona and a glamorous life. Some people who see this frequently begin to devalue their own lives, creating a complex that leads them to believe that they are inadequate when compared to others.

Loneliness
Originally meant to connect people from far away, social media has begun to do quite the opposite. Studies have found that the more people use social media, the more lonely and isolated they tend to feel, and as they reduce that use the effect is reversed. This fabricated sense of loneliness can also lead to the fear of missing out, or FOMO, which increases the isolation felt by the user.

Bullying
With the rise of social media came a generation that was raised by it, much like younger generations are said to have been raised by television. This social structure created new forms of contact, and with it came a new type of bullying. Younger people who use social media have often cited seeing or experiencing cyberbullying on the platforms. Like traditional bullying, this can cause issues with self-worth. The main difference is that the bullies have access to their victim more readily, and almost constantly.

The Takeaway

While social media can be seen as a genuinely positive form of socialization, the growth of the platforms that allow for online socialization have begun to allow for experiences that have a negative impact on mental health. The three issues spoken about today are only the tip of the iceberg. Generally, it can be shown that with increased social media usage comes an increased likelihood of depression. If you think you’re falling prey to this, consider limiting your use and speaking to a professional.