Is social media the reason for our mental health declining?
Social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat everyone is obsessed, but is it making our mental health worse than it already is? We have to wonder what is happening to the world when 24% of Brits have mental health issues such as anxiety and depression related to social media while only 57% of Brits actually used social media regularly. Is the reason for the toxicity in everyone’s lives and everyone’s relationships?
A new study has found that gender means social media effects and messes with your head more for females and less in males. Over half of mental health illnesses start at young as 14 years old now a days as this is when most teens as making their social media accounts and when the cyber bullying starts. Social media also affects the genders completely differently females have been proven to become less active, lose sleep and get cyber bullied into depressions, while men statistically spend less time on social media and more time out with their friends. Men also play Xboxes and PlayStations that they can only talk to their friends and they can get away from any bullying or negativity, most of the time they don’t and they argue with the other party but they can get away from it if they wish too unlike girls who find it a lot harder to get away from the cyberbullying.
It is built into our DNA to compare ourselves to other people, and social media is just fueling this instinct by giving us unlimited perfect people to compare ourselves to constantly. Unfortunately teenage girls compare themselves to these perfectly photoshopped people who look completely different in real life and give themselves mental illnesses like anorexia as they are trying to look like these girls. Models also give girls an unhealthy body image to live up to, these size 2 or 4 girls are smoothed to perfection in photoshop and completely changed, normal teenage girls are comparing themselves to this and feel so disgusting that over 80% of 10 year olds will call themselves fat after comparing themselves to people on television or social media. The mirror released an article after a survey that revealed that 46% of young teenage girls feel extremely overweight when in fact statistics reveal that only 20% of all 13 to 15 year olds are overweight and that girls built up a very negative image of their own body and think that they are the ugly friend. Males also have body image problems, 13% of boys think that they are too light or underweight as they are trying to reach the body goals of professional footballers and body builders. Giving boys the mindset that they have to be ‘built’ and ‘bulking’ meaning boys feel they can not just be skinny they must have a lot of muscles, they want 6 packs and big biceps when they are only children themselves.
Social media also effects celebrities including Jesy Nelson from the pop band little mix. Jesy has recently created a documentary about her cyberbullying and abuse online. After the documentary was released hundreds of people took to Twitter to discuss the documentary and its sensitive content. One person said “This Jesy Nelson documentary needs to be shown in every single school and college up and down the country to show that words can break even the most strongest looking people and ruin so many lives. Just be kind.” With over 6000 retweets and thousands of comments of people agreeing to get documentaries like this shown in schools from a young age as it may discourage the future generations to be so abusive online after finding out what online hate can do to people. In the documentary Jesy visits a family that lost their daughter to suicide because of cyberbullying about her looks, the documentary shows us how the loss of a child greatly affect parents no matter what but knowing that your child committed suicide because of how people acted towards her.1 in 10 young people experience a mental health disorder including anxiety ,depression and suicidal thoughts due to the effects of social media trolling and cyberbullying.
Many parents worry about how exposure to technology might affect their child’s development. Everyone knows young children are picking up new social skills at a rapid rate, and we don’t want hours spent glued to an iPad to prevent that. But adolescence is an equally important period of rapid development, and too few parents are paying attention to how teenagers’ use of technology—much more intense and intimate than a 3-year-old playing with dad’s phone—is affecting them. In fact, experts worry that social media and text messages that have become so integral to teenage life are promoting anxiety and lowering self-esteem. From the statistics alone, it’s clear that social media has become an integral and to a large extent, unavoidable part of our lives, so how can parents their stop young children from becoming screen time obsessed like their older siblings are now. Well it’s not that simple, there are parents that have tried to bring up their children without the pressures of social media
A study by researchers at the University of Alberta published in April found that five-year-olds who spent two or more hours a day on a phone or iPad were five times more likely to be reported by their parents as exhibiting symptoms of ADHD when compared to their peers who were on screens for 30 minutes or less. Face-to-face interaction with parents or carers is essential for small children’s development, and in today’s society whether it be because the mum is answering emails or checking Facebook or the child is watching a YouTube video or TikToks children nowadays are not receiving the face-to-face interaction and emotional support that they need, showing why children these days turn to self harm, drugs or sex to let out their emotions as they didn’t have the emotional talks when they where young.
There is little evidence that screen use for children is harmful in itself, guidance from leading paediatricians says that, parents shouldn’t worry as long as they have gone through a checklist on the effects of screen time on their child, it says that while the guidance of professionals says to avoid setting screen time limits, it recommends not using screens in the hour before bedtime to allow the child’s brain time to calm down from the visual stimulation of social media’s. Social media is not always an online distraction or procrastination platform. While some may be addicted to their social media networks, it is one of the best ways to stay informed. Major news outlets, corporations and persons of interest using social media to deliver messages to the masses. With items posting immediately, the public stays informed. Some issues cause controversy, but social media does more good than harm in retrospect.
Increased teen awareness is important. Social media is one of the best outlets to reach the minds of young people to make a real difference. Although some parents see social media as detrimental to their children, it actually does them some good to have social media accounts. Teens want to be aware and informed just as much as adults Whether it be about the football game that’s on or what Donald Trump is doing that day teens like to stay in the loop too. Using social media allows teens to follow organizations and causes that they believe in. It makes them feel like they are a part of something, even when they feel like an outcast in society, showing that social media allows people to find out who they really are and who they want to be. It allows teens to find people with similar interests as them even when they have no one at school or in the community that share interests as them.
A study released in April claims that children under the age of three should not watch television or sit playing games on a tablet at all, while people agree with this, how realistic is it to expect parents of nowadays to somehow not have their child watch any television or even play on their parents phone in today’s society. If your child cries in public you let that child play on the phone for even as little as 5 minutes and it has completely calmed down meaning no daggers from across the room, or cafe, not only does letting your child watch an episode of Peppa Pig or the dumping ground making them happy but it helps it calm them down meaning parents anxiety is lower and there isn’t the awkward conversation with the cafe waitress about why the kid won’t stop crying.The study then goes on to say that allowing children time on phones and iPads for shorter length of time will mean they are more likely to act out as teenagers as they are trying to get back at their parents for now allowing them to have childhoods like all their friends, while this is extreme it does show that yet again the people writing these studies are not the people living with the children that are being “traumatised as children” as one mum said. The fact that even parents feel children are being traumatised shows that people reply on social media these days.
People with physical disabilities love social media as it allows them to make friends with completely new people who don’t judge them for having that disability. Disabled people find easy to isolate themselves when they are struggling mentally, they don’t want to be with other people or to engage socially, shutting themselves away from the world. At times it can feel so lonely for them because even though they know that, in fact, they aren’t alone they feel as though no one else is going through what you are. Often times they don’t feel like communicating with others or explaining what they are feeling because it seems too difficult to do so, or because they just feel too exhausted to voice it, or at times because they might it won’t help or people won’t understand. Disabled people deal with severe mental health before social media and social media gives them a place to escape to, showing that social media is an amazing and freeing place and shouldn’t feel like a cage. “We have a platform to share our lives and help one another, to be there for each other when we need support, to get advice and give advice from experience” says a young women with bipolar disorder and a chronic illness proving yet again that social media allows people to help each other more than hindering them.
New Research Suggests That Work-Not Social Media-Is The Biggest Cause Of Anxiety And Stress. According to research conducted as part of Where’s Your Head At – the new campaign to tackle mental health issues in the workplace. In a survey of 1,565 people, only 16% blamed social media for having a negative impact on their mental health. In fact, the single biggest worry for 58% of respondents was money, followed closely by workload concerns. The results of this survey shows that social media is actually not a big worry to the general public, the 16% of the public that do have social media as their biggest worry shows that they may have an addiction to getting the most likes and comments on a photo or that maybe they are getting cyberbullied but the massive 58% that have the biggest concern of money problems, showing that these people are not addicted to social media and are prioritising their work, family and bills instead of social media. Yet again showing that only people who want to be are obsessed with social media and that is isn’t ruining the public’s mental health.