Social media apps and the continuous development of technology impact each and every one of us. New platforms launch daily on the market, targeting young people and teenagers. Although there are many advantages of social media, there are also many down parts, whether we like to admit it or not. Social media addiction is one of the topics that many people talk about. When used too much and too intensely, social platforms become harmful to our mental health. The main instinct of Internet users is to believe that everything they see and everything they read on these platforms is undeniably true.
However, all those perfect pictures and ideal lifestyle we see daily on social media is far from real life. When falling into this trap, our health is affected and we face the negative impacts of social media. Many researchers put their attention and efforts into studies about the harmful effects of social media and how we can recognize them easily before they affect us too much.
When does social media addiction become harmful?
We crave the attention. We need to stay permanently connected with each other and be informed about the latest news. And that’s what social media platforms offer us. More or less. All these platforms are mostly used by teenagers, who take for granted all they see. They can be easily influenced. There is no secret that besides real-time information, social platforms can also spread fake news or stories. This raises the question of credible sources and how we can rely on the news we read about.
Many celebrities and influencers use social media as a channel to promote different brands or products. They have thousands or millions of followers who appreciate them and follow their advice closely, almost blindly, without thinking twice. Also, they promote different challenges and encourage their followers to try. That’s how many unfortunate events and accidents happen.
The Fear of Missing Out or FOMO is one of the negative effects of social media. The more you use it, the more likely you are to develop it. You will feel permanently the desire to stay connected and up to date with everything new that appears on social platforms. This is linked to social media engagement. The higher your engagement is, the more likely you are to experience FOMO.
How does it affect teenagers?
Cyberbullying is no longer a secret. It happens daily, without even being aware of it at first. But it has a major impact on your mental health, especially at a young age. Teenagers are most likely to face this. Due to social status, money, or relationships they have with friends, they face bullied by classmates or people of similar age. However, the effects of cyberbullying last long through to adulthood.
The power of influencers affects the body image of their followers. Lately, many young people, mostly girls, develop a negative body image about themselves. This is due to all the perfect pictures they see posted from famous people and influencers. They desire the same attention and number of reactions. Soon, they will face stress and depression, all to get that perfect picture.
Anxiety is another “symptom” of social platforms. The young generation faces psychological distress when they spend more than 2 hours on social platforms. Their mental health is affected and influenced by all they see and read. Anxious about their social status, their body image, or their group of friends.
Mood swings and self-esteem link back to excessive use of social media. The content you read on these platforms affects your mood, whether you notice it or not. It has an emotional effect on you. Also, your self-esteem can be easily influenced by these. Social media has a tendency of promoting “perfection”. Whenever you encounter a post from someone looking better than you, your self-esteem drops, and anxiety walks in.
The “healthy” way to be on social media
Apparently, researchers have developed a “healthy” way to be on social media. The limitation is probably the keyword for it. Whenever you feel like social media turns into a negative experience, it might be a sign that you need a break from it. Although it may seem like an impossible mission to disengage completely from all social media, you should at least limit the amount of time you spend on these platforms.
Also, don’t allow social media to negatively affect your choices. You should never feel bad about yourself compared to other people. For example, restrictive diets or excessive exercises are common on these platforms. Many people adopt wishing to end up looking just like their favorite model or influencers. There are many negative effects of this that are left out.
Social media addiction has many negative effects on people. Besides the ones mentioned before, there are many other scenarios that prove just how bad excessive us is to us. The rapid evolution of social platforms does nothing else but accentuate them. Although social media should be a way of entertainment and escape from problems, it has become more of a place for misinformation and bullying. We develop envy and even though we have hundreds or thousands of friends, we feel lonelier than ever before. These should be alarm signals that we shouldn’t neglect.