Social Media Create Social Anxiety within Younger Generations

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Opening

I support the following statement “The prevalence of social media is having a negative impact on the younger generations and will cause numerous social anxiety issues in the future”. This is evident in a world where there are over 4 billion social media users across multiple platforms, even some with multiple accounts. Surveys have revealed that 90% of children aged 13-17 at least one type of social media (Number form ref. list) (Acap.org, 2019). This has subjected the younger generations to a vast amount of media-related information that could psychologically affect them both positively and negatively. Most social media platforms include celebrities and other high-status users who display their high standards of life which include luxury items and expensive lifestyles. This sets false expectations and standards for the younger generations therefore causing social anxiety issues when not being ‘good enough’ for other users to see. Cyberbullying has also increased as an effect of social media leading to social anxiety, which then leads to Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). This can lead to extreme cases of addiction, mental disorders and suicide.

Argument

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

This anxiety disorder causes long-lasting, and even permanent, emotional states that cause individuals to have a physical or emotional reaction inequal to their experience. Symptoms can include the lack of desire to socialize and being withdrawn from society. SAD can be caused by the patient’s brain structure and their living environment. Studies and research show that social media is one of the largest causes of the increase in SAD cases. Sources indicate that 92% of American teens check social media regularly, alongside 24% reporting that they check social media constantly, this includes an average of teens (12-19 years old) using social media for 6 hours a day. This study also showed that 46% of teen girls had admitted to feeling bad about themselves as a result of social media portraying idealistic and unrealistic standards. The results show an increase in social anxiety for the younger generations due to the increase of social media exposure. (All information and figures from (Number from ref. list) (Ignite Teen Treatment, 2018))

Social Media Addiction

Countless teens are heavily focused on their online relationships, online status and presence causing social media addiction which is greatly correlated to the cause of Social Anxiety Disorder. Social media platform such as Twitter have positive feedback mechanisms such as ‘Followers’ and ‘Likes’ on their accounts and posts, these mechanisms provide a reward for the user which stimulates the brain to release dopamine, causing the social media addiction (number from ref. list) (Ignite Teen Treatment, 2018). This produces dependence on social media which can lead to symptoms, for example, feeling stressed without social media, feeling depressed and depression when not getting likes on social platforms and being withdrawn from their present lives (Number from ref list) (Iberdrola, n.d.). This increases social anxiety which had serious mental and physical consequences that they did not know of this could include a lack of sleep and loss of motivation to study.

Health

Social media has also increased the screen time of the younger generations, this can harm the vision and mental health of the users. Increased screen time can cause Computer Vision Syndromes, this is when extended periods of screen time can cause eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and a decrease to eye health. A study in 2013 had collected data showing that children in the town of Shitka showed that the children who had longer screen viewing times were inclined to have a lesser intake of protein, iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin B-2, vitamin K and dietary fibres with an increase of N-6 fatty acids (Number from ref. list) (Tsujiguchi et al, 2018). These results show a direct correlation between the amount of screen time caused by social media and a lack of nutrients that are imperative for their long-term health which could cause issues such as obesity. Extended screen time has also led to children and teens staying indoors rather than outdoors, causing Vitamin D deficiencies as an effect of less exposure to the sun which has a direct correlation to social anxiety and depression among them.

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Roughly 24% of young girls have reported daily about bullying based on their body size and structure through social media. This is evidence that social media usage causes social anxiety in younger generations due to a lack of body confidence due to irrational social media standards (Number from ref. list) (More-Love.org, 2019).

Suicide

Cyber harassment and Cyberbullying are when a teen is targeted multiple time by another online user or group in the form of humiliation or embarrassment by social media platforms or cellular phones and harassment or threats by other users on the platforms. Data collected in a study collected data from 2004-2010 shows that Cyberbullying victims reported had increased to 40.6% from 20.8%, and the rates of offending had risen from 11.5% to 20.1%. Cyberbullying has been increasingly correlated to suicide or the increased risk of suicide. This is shown in a survey where 2000 middle school students that indicated they were victims of cyberbullying were approximately 2x more likely to attempt suicide due to the mental strain it caused them. Also, those who indicated they had been a cyberbullying offender were 1.5x more likely to attempt suicide than students who were neither offenders nor victims of cyberbullying. These results are evidence that shows cyberbullying increases the risk of suicide as a result of feeling isolated, unstable and hopeless within the younger generations, therefore proving that social media has been increasing social anxiety among the younger generations. (number from ref. list) (Luxton, June and Fairall, 2012)

Another aspect of how social media has influenced suicide is with the increasing amount of topics and data available about it. According to statistics in Japan (2008), there have been 220 attempted suicides via the intake of Hydrogen Sulphide gas which has resulted in 208 deaths which included 58 deaths of teens aged 16-19. This suicide outbreak was blamed on an online forum that explained various methods of suicide. An additional cause that social media has been held accountable for has been the effect where it has influenced suicidal behaviour, methods along with documentation as instructions to young people. A study conducted by Dunlop examined possible infectious effects on suicidal behaviour of 719 individuals aged 14-24 years old. The results had shown that 79% had reported being exposed to suicide-related content through friends and family. Therefore, this shows that the likelihood of suicide through social media connections has a direct correlation to the increase of social anxiety within younger generations. (Number from ref. list) (Luxton, June and Fairall, 2012)

Closing

In conclusion, social media usage is increasing every day by large margins as a result of the rapid increase of technology and it’s availability for the younger generations, therefore showing that there has been an increase in social anxiety within younger generations and it will continue to increase, impacting more and more children. A solution that could be implemented nationwide is that the government could take cyberbullying and harassment seriously to ‘crackdown’ on offenders and offer more support for those who have become a victim. Parents or Guardians could also limit the amount of time that their child has on devices that accommodate social media.

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Social Media Create Social Anxiety within Younger Generations. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/social-media-create-social-anxiety-within-younger-generations/
“Social Media Create Social Anxiety within Younger Generations.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/social-media-create-social-anxiety-within-younger-generations/
Social Media Create Social Anxiety within Younger Generations. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/social-media-create-social-anxiety-within-younger-generations/> [Accessed 8 Aug. 2022].
Social Media Create Social Anxiety within Younger Generations [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2022 Aug 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/social-media-create-social-anxiety-within-younger-generations/
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