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Effects Of Social Media On Our Wellbeing

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Social media must be restricted as it leads to depression, anxiety and can sometimes make young people think about committing suicide because of cyber-bullying.

Intro

Social media and its usage have skyrocketed within the last decade or so (Perrin, 2015). This has also, unfortunately, led to increases in cyber-bullying, depression and suicide attempts (mHealth, 2016). The most common users of social media are younger people aged 16 to 24, with 91% using the internet for socializing (Royal Society For Public Health, 2018, p. 5). This can impact them in a positive or negative way and can also affect the health and wellbeing of a user, regardless of age. Whether it is physically, emotionally or mentally, there are certainly evidences showing how social media has influenced the overall conditions and state of users.

This essay will examine these effects using studies and reports to support the claims and points being discussed, as well as presenting examples of how the detriments can be overcome and how social media can be used in a healthy, beneficial way.

Body

There are several social media platforms available throughout the world today. Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are amongst the most popular social networks with billions of active users per month (Kallas, 2018). This shows how social media is continuously being used all over the globe and yet more people are becoming active on social networks. As reported in an article by Alison Battisby, UK social media usage hit an all-time high in 2018 (Battisby, 2018). It is a similar case in the US. According to a report by Andrew Perrin, 10 years ago around 7% of the population used one or more social networking sites. Now, however, that number has almost multiplied by ten to 65% (Perrin, 2015). Although young people are most likely to use social media, users aged 65 years and over have also increased within this period too. In fact, usage among this age group more than tripled since 2010 – from 11% using social media then, to 35% in 2015. This is a big jump from the 2% who used social media in 2005.

Looking at the above data, it can be confidently said that social media usage is still on the rise and relates to different age groups.

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Social media since its inception then, has become nothing short of a worldwide phenomenon. But it does have its downsides. According to the Status of Mind report by the Royal Society for Public Health, users have got addicted to social media, with 5% of young people being affected. This addiction is thought to be worse than cigarette and alcohol addiction (Royal Society For Public Health, 2018, p. 6).

Social media can also lead to anxiety and depression. According to research, one in six young people tend to experience some sort of anxiety disorder throughout their lives. To put that into context, five pupils in every school class may be going through an anxiety order (AnxietyUK, 2018). Rates of anxiety and depression have also increased in the last 25 years by 70%. The fact that there is a correlation between a rise in anxiety and the introduction of social media and increase of its usage, is no coincidence. Four out of five young people have found to feel more depressed due to social media platforms. Furthermore, youngsters who use social media for more than two hours a day are more likely to suffer from poor mental health.(Office of Health Economics and The Mental Health Foundation, 2005). One contributing factor could be the ‘compare and despair’ mindset. This is when users see their friends, celebrities and their idols posting images of holidays, enjoyment and lifestyle, and start comparing these to their apparently ordinary lives. Research carried out by AnxietyUK upheld this notion, with data suggesting social media encourages feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Photos and media that may be greatly edited or altered can cause young users to have low self-esteem and feel conscious about themselves. These idealistic prospects that social media sets can encourage them to pursue preciseness, leading to anxiety disorders (Royal Society For Public Health, 2018, p. 8).

Social media also leads to depression. Research shows that there is a correlation between depression in young people and social media usage. Almost 80,000 youngsters struggle from depression in the UK (Royal Society For Public Health, 2018, p. 8). As well as this, social media usage that is carried out for more than two hours in a day has been directly linked to poor self-rating of mental health and thoughts of committing suicide. Researchers have also suggested that the power of social media promotes depression and worsening of current states. This is because young people are continuously dealing with online peer pressure while facing pressures from impractical depictions of the real world. Anxiety and depression could have very harmful effects on the lives of young people. These conditions can make youngsters feel overwhelmed, nervous and fearful. As a result, individuals may find it difficult to attend school, work, socialize or even leave the house (Royal Society For Public Health, 2018, p. 8).

The stage of young adulthood or teenage is vital in terms of growth as the brain does not reach the peak of its development until at least a person is in his or her twenties. Sleep is therefore crucial for teens. Sleep is concurrent with mental health – poor sleep can result in poor mental health, and vice versa (Royal Society For Public Health, 2018, p. 9). Therefore, young people need one to two hours extra sleep compared to adults. Lack of sleep can lead to a number of physical and mental health disorders such as diabetes, heart attack and depression (The National Academies, 2006).

Constant use of social media can play a huge part in this. Research has shown that there is a strong connection between use of social media and poor sleep, as young people tend to use phones, tablets, etc. at night for socializing. Using such devices means being exposed to LED lights which, studies have found, can disrupt certain procedures the brain carries out that allows a person to feel sleepy. This includes interference with melatonin – the sleep hormone. Feeling worried and stressed due to being unable to match the improbable goals of other social media users, can be a reason for poor sleep. This in turn, causes tiredness, which then affects day to day life. This can also result in low self-esteem and this cycle may start over (Royal Society For Public Health, 2018, p. 9).

References

  1. AnxietyUK. (2018). Young People and Anxiety. Retrieved November 23, 2018, from AnxietyUK: https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/get-help/anxiety-information/young-people-and-anxiety/
  2. Battisby, A. (2018). The Latest UK Social Media Statistics For 2018. Avocado Social. Retrieved November 16, 2018, from https://www.avocadosocial.com/the-latest-uk-social-media-statistics-for-2018/
  3. Kallas, P. (2018). Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites. DreamGROW. Retrieved November 16, 2018, from https://www.dreamgrow.com/top-15-most-popular-social-networking-sites/
  4. mHealth. (2016). Associations between social media and cyber bullying. PMC.
  5. Office of Health Economics and The Mental Health Foundation. (2005). Lifetime Impacts. London: Mental Health Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2018, from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/lifetime_impacts.pdf
  6. Perrin, A. (2015). Social Media Usage: 2005-2015. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center. Retrieved November 16, 2018, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/
  7. Royal Society For Public Health. (2018). Status Of Mind – Social media and young people’s health and wellbeing. Retrieved October 10, 2018, from https://www.rsph.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/62be270a-a55f-4719-ad668c2ec7a74c2a.pdf

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Effects Of Social Media On Our Wellbeing. (2021, September 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/effects-of-social-media-on-our-wellbeing/
“Effects Of Social Media On Our Wellbeing.” Edubirdie, 29 Sept. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/effects-of-social-media-on-our-wellbeing/
Effects Of Social Media On Our Wellbeing. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/effects-of-social-media-on-our-wellbeing/> [Accessed 5 Oct. 2022].
Effects Of Social Media On Our Wellbeing [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 29 [cited 2022 Oct 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/effects-of-social-media-on-our-wellbeing/
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