Social media is a revolutionary platform on internet which drastically changed overall view of the world and has become an integral part of our society. Due to evolution and expansion of technology social media is becoming a vital tool for daily social interaction. The significance of social media in our world can be realized by the fact that nearly 2.65 Billion people on internet use this platform and this number is estimated to grow in upcoming years (Clement, 2019). Social media has brought a lot of benefits to our society however, social media has a considerable amount of negative impact on the youth. Social media has adversely affected the mental health of the teenagers and is turning them into antisocial generation.
How Social Media Affects Mental Health?
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have become immensely popular among teenagers. Frequent use of these sites causes an adverse effect on the mental health of the young adults and due to this mental disorder have become more common among this age group. A study shows that 14 -17 years old who use social media more than 7 hours were more than twice likely to suffer from depression (Twenge & Campbell, 2018). As teens use most of their time on social networking sites observing images and content posted by their peers which give rise to social comparison (“The Effect of Social Media on Teenagers”, 2019). Therefore, it enables youngsters to over analyze themselves and have negative impact on their self-esteem and body image which can lead to depression and anxiety. However, nearly 43 percent teenagers feel pressure while posting content on social media that makes them look good (Anderson and Jiang, 2018).
Nowadays, teens have become addictive to social media to such an extent that they sacrifice their valuable sleep. Sleep deprivation is linked to major mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. A study on high school students shows that each hour of lost sleep was associated with 38 percent in risk of feeling sad and 58 percent increase in suicidal event (“How technology and Sleep Deprivation Affects Teens”, 2018). Due to lack of sleep teens become more aggressive, irritable and suffer from lack of concentration which leads to poor academic performance. Moreover, social media has become an addiction. Like other addiction behaviour brain responds to social media with release of dopamine which gives them a sense of reward (“How technology and Sleep Deprivation Affects Teens”, 2018). Teens become overly concerned about their social media accounts and tend to log on uncontrollably leaving behind important tasks (Hillard,2019). Hence, this addiction of social networking sites can not only damage mental wellbeing of teens but can also affect their future. The addiction of social networking also has great impact on teens physical health, as teens spend most of their time on various social platforms, they don’t do any kind of physical activities such as playing outdoor games, running and exercise. Due of lack of physical activity youngsters are vulnerable to various heart diseases, several cancers and most common obesity.
Effects of Social Media on Communication
Social media has enabled communication to be effective and efficient, but it also has negative implications associated with social communication and social skills of youth. It is affecting relationship and degrades the quality of interpersonal communication. Youngsters are spending much time on social media which cause physical isolation and a lack of face-to-face communication. There is a drastic shift in the way teens communicate today than 6 years back, most teens now prefer texting friends rather than talking to them face-to-face (Stenmetz, 2018). As most of the interaction takes place online teens feel less nervous while talking and sharing ideas online. Also, they tend to spend time less time with their friends in person, due to which they lack social and communication skills. For teens communication skills are not only important for daily interactions but also plays a significant role for success in their future careers. Besides decreasing the amount of face to face interaction, social networking usages also reduce the quality of their social interaction. As teens prefer to stay online most of the time, they are not able to spend quality time with their friends and family. This leads to poor communication between their loved ones which not only damage the essence of their relationship but may also destroy it.
Nowadays social media has become most common platform for social interaction. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat allow people to stay connected to each other by sharing events of their lives by posting photos and status updates. Regardless of the location around the globe these sites allow users to directly communicate with their family members and loved ones online via video calls or voice calls. According to a survey 67% feel closer to friends and family because of social media (Heimlich, 2011). Moreover, social media is a great tool for connecting students living abroad with families. Social networking sites have helped international students to deal with common psychological challenges such as homesickness and loneliness. Nearly 78.9% international students believe that social media has helped them adjust to living abroad (Straumsheim, 2014). So., social media platform helps people to connect with share information with each other.
Effects of Social Media on Cyberbullying
In the past few years social networking has taken bullying to the extreme. Prior to social media teens were agitated by school bullies, but today they are targeted by bullies via internet. Generally, a cyber bully is referred as the use of social media platforms for communicating false, embarrassing and hostile information of specific user (Prajapati, 2019). Cyberbullying has become very common in teens. According to a survey nearly 59% US teens have been bullied and harassed online (Anderson, 2018). The act of cyberbullying consists of spreading rumours and lies, posting private photos and sensitive information of a student without consent. One thing that makes cyberbullying more harmful than the traditional bullying is the anonymity. Cyberbullies use fake identities to humiliate and threaten others, which helps them protect their true identity and motivates them to continue bullying other people. Just like other victims of bullying, cyberbullying can be traumatic. Cyberbullied teens experience fear, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem (Gordon, 2019). In addition to this, students may lose interest in the activities they use to enjoy, stop spending time with their friend and in the extreme cases they may commit suicide. As internet is present everywhere cyberbullying feels permanent and victims of cyberbullying often find it difficult to feel safe even at their homes. The effects of cyberbullying give a clear indication of direct relationship between cyberbullying and depression.
As technology is growing social media has become an imperative part of our society. Social media has proved to have both positive and negative impact on youth. However, social networking sites have a negative effect on teens mental health as frequent use of these sites causes mental disorders such depression, anxiety and sleep deprivation. Although social media has enhanced our connectivity, it is also causing a decline in social and communication skills. Due to excess use of social networking sites the quality of relationships has dramatically declined. Further, cyberbullying has also emerged as negative effect on social media which has increased rapidly in the past few years causing mental distress among teens.