A study carried out by the Pew Research Center showed that 95% of teenagers use internet-enabled phones and 45% of them are avid internet users. Also, approximately 70% of these teenagers use Snapchat and Instagram. We are going to be looking at how social media affects mental health of students in this article.
Positive Effects of Social Media
Though students tend to benefit more from face-to-face interactions, online interactions have some positive effects on students. These effects have been well documented in several social media essays. Social media platforms allow students to:
- Communicate with friends and family in different parts of the world
- Meet new friends with similar interests
- Express themselves and unlock their creativity
- Find educational information
- Get emotional support in tough times
- Join progressive communities and raise awareness on critical issues
Negative Effects of Social Media
Little data is available on the negative social media impacts on students due to the relative newness of the technology. However, some researchers have linked the technology to the rise in depression, anxiety, loneliness, amongst others. Why does social media cause depression?
Depression and Anxiety
To remain mentally healthy, students need to have a good amount of face-to-face interactions. It lessens stress and improves moods faster than most activities. Students that choose online communication over physical communication have higher chances of experiencing anxiety and depression.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Though FOMO wasn't introduced by social media, the technology has made it worse. More people are feeling like they are missing out on the good life due to what they see on the internet. This then results in low self-esteem, anxiety, and social media addiction.
Poor Self Esteem
People use all kinds of filters on their pictures before uploading them online. As a result, several students feel insecure about their appearance when they see these pictures. People also tend to post only their wins on social media, internet users rarely post their low points. This can make a student feel envious and dissatisfied about their situation and achievements.
Though students may feel like social media makes them less lonely, in reality, it makes them more isolated. Students that have more physical interactions are less likely to feel isolated or lonely.
People can easily get absorbed by the likes and comments that they get on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This often makes people self-centered and distant from their real-life connections.
How to Avoid the Negative Effect of Social Media
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have their pros and cons. Fortunately, we can limit how social media affecting students.
One of the easiest ways for students to solve issues related to social media is to monitor their online activities. Several mobile monitoring apps have been designed to help students limit their internet usage. These apps also allow them to limit their internet usage to certain times of the day and change their privacy settings to keep off cyber bullies and predators.
Understanding That Social Media Isn't Real
As we mentioned earlier, students can be affected by the things that they see online. So, they need to understand that people live fake lives online and only post their highs. Teachers should teach their students that no one has a perfect life and it is okay to not be a perfect 10.
Understanding How Social Media Works
Young adults usually find themselves comparing their lives to that of online celebrities. This often damages their self-image. According to research, several female college students do not like their appearance because they feel other women online are more perfect. Young adults should protect themselves by keeping in mind that things are more appealing online.
The world is still learning about social media, so we don't fully know how it affects our lives. However, recent studies have shown a link between social media and anxiety. Uncontrolled use of the internet can also result in depression, loneliness, and other mental health issues. So, students should protect their mental wellness by using the tips shared in this article.