Social media is used worldwide with 45% of the world’s population using it. However social media isn’t always used in the correct way and can affect people’s mental states for the worst. More than half of teenage girls and approximately a third of teenage boys develop mental health problems due to social media. About a fifth of all teens have reported being bullied on social media and other users are receivers of offensive comments. Social platforms such as Twitter and Instagram can be the main area where it is common for spreading hurtful rumors, words, and abuse that can leave people feeling low and useless.
Researchers say that most people spend at least two hours social networking and messaging every day, anything more than two or three hours is classed as excessive use.
The top two main mental health problems that are easily developed by the overuse of social media are anxiety and depression. Peer pressure can cause any human the slightest bit of anxiety. Have you ever been peer pressured into doing something? Where there is a direct influence on yourself by peers. It is a very common issue that people with social media have to deal with. Nowadays teenagers feel majorly peer pressured over social media to do things such as drugs, sexting (sending inappropriate pictures), and misuse of drinking. Although they feel pressured into it, they make the decision primarily because they become anxious that they would be judged if they said no to doing it. However, the outcome of the event can lead to even worse outcomes such as severe anxiety. Even though they know it was wrong to partake in it, they still did it. This thought can eat people up inside and cause them to overthink about the situation. Leaving them to develop severe anxiety problems. The dark side of social media consists of these types of events on a daily basis. Situations like the examples above can lead people to a dark area in their lives making them feel depressed and developing low self-esteem.
There are a number of reasons why people develop mental health problems from excessive social media use. A survey was completed and showed that popular social media apps cause issues such as anxiety, depression, and body image. Although they are all problems the most common ones are cyberbullying and body typing. Cyberbullying can range from calling someone a name to telling them to kill themselves. Whatever is said in that way always affects people’s mental health. Many teenagers across the UK have suffered eating disorders such as anorexia due to cyberbullying this was caused by being called fat or overweight, which is only one of the many mental health problems that can develop. A big part of social media is the number of likes you can receive on a post. Many people look at their likes and start to change themselves to try and receive more likes, this can also cause eating disorders due to them not eating to look like the photoshopped models they see online. Even though people know that images they are viewing on social media are manipulated and edited, they still manage to make teens insecure about how they look or what’s going on in their lives.
On the other hand, research also shows that routine social media use can also have a big positive effect on mental health. For instance, using social media as part of everyday routine and responding to posts, etc that others share is positively associated with health outcomes. There may also be an emotional connection to social media, an example of this is, checking apps excessively to block out the possible fear of missing out, being disappointed, or feeling disconnected from friends when not logged into social media. This can also be negatively associated with the outcomes. However, in more simple terms, these ideas can suggest that as long as people are mindful, the routine use of social media may not in itself be a problem and in fact could be beneficial for people's mental health. Through using social media young people like to express themselves in ways they cannot in the real-life world. It is very common for people nowadays to make friends with people through social media platforms. Creating these friendships can benefit people’s mental health very quickly knowing they have someone to speak to or interact with.
However, it is important to focus on the long-lasting negative consequences that the impact social media has on people’s mental health and well-being. Once self-esteem is knocked and affected by negativity it tends to take a period of time to return back to what it was like before events took place. It is highly common for teenagers to compare themselves to others on social media. As it takes a while to regain self-esteem in that period of time where it is coming back people tend to feel worthless and not worth it. This can result in self-harm; self-harm affects 13% of young people between the ages of 12-16 years of age. Self-harm scars are a constant reminder of what they went through and what happened, therefore this shows that once someone feels a certain way eg low about their self-esteem it does not just go away there always will be a reminder somewhere. Whether it is physical scars or a mental reminder knowing that someone said what they said or did what they did. However, some people not only self-harm but end up taking their own lives. Not only does this affect the person whose life has been lost but their family and friends, they have to live day to day thinking that they did not do enough to help the person who was lost.
In conclusion, it is very clear to see that social media is a mental health killer. The dark side of social media is forever going to be there. Although there is good that comes from using social media, the number of bad things does outweigh the good. People's mental state can and most likely is forever changed due to the circumstances they have faced and how it affected them in the long term. I strongly believe that social media is a secret mental health killer, parents are uneducated about what their children are doing on their phones and other media platforms. This then leads to issues that can snowball into bigger problems leaving people with scars both physically and mentally. Researchers say the more you prioritize social media interaction over in-person, the more you are at risk for developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Every human being needs face-to-face contact to be mentally healthy.