Why social media is bad for depression? Studies show that depression among teenagers and young adults has gotten more common over the past years. Social media use has also increased during the same time. It’s hard to say for sure that social media causes depression. Still, there are several ways that using social media use could harm kids.
Humans are social creatures. To thrive in life, we need to be surrounded by others. The strength of our relationships has a significant impact on our mental and emotional health. Social connections can help you reduce stress, anxiety, depression, increase self-worth, give comfort and joy, avoid loneliness, and even extend your life by adding years. However, if you don’t have strong social connections, it can risk your mental or emotional health.
Many people rely on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube to connect with others. Each has its advantages, but social media cannot replace human contact. To trigger hormones that reduce stress and make you happier, healthier, more positive, it needs to be in person.
Ironically, despite the technology’s purpose to connect people, too much social media use can make it more challenging to feel connected and lonely. It can also lead you to develop mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
You may need to examine your social media habits and change them to live a happier life. In this article, we will see why social media is bad for depression.
What is Depression?
Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, is a type of mood disorder that causes persistent sadness and loss of interest. The severity of depression can vary from mild to severe. It can make it difficult for people with this condition to focus, sleep, eat well, and complete their daily routines.
Depression can lead to feelings of worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or even death. Depression can be treated with medication and psychotherapy. Mental health can be improved by limiting social media use and prioritizing real-world relationships.
Facts on Social Media and Depression
According to some estimates, around 4 billion people use social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Mental health professionals have investigated whether social media’s huge popularity can play a role in depression.
Research shows that those who spend less time on social media are happier than those who do not. Research also suggests that social media can trigger negative emotions that may worsen or contribute to depression symptoms.
- A Lancet study published in 2018 showed that people who use Facebook late at night are more likely to feel unhappy and depressed.
- A 2018 study also found that people feel depressed and lonely if they spend less time social media.
- A 2015 study found that Facebook users who felt envy while on this social media site were more likely to develop symptoms of depression.
Why Social Media Is Bad For Depression?
Since it’s a relatively new technology, there’s little research to establish the long-term consequences, good or bad, of social media use. Multiple studies have shown a strong connection between heavy use of social media and increased risks for depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
Social media may promote negative experiences such as:
1. Inadequacy about your appearance or life
You may feel inadequate about your appearance or insecure about your life. We all know that people share only the best parts of their lives and rarely the lowest points. However, envy and dissatisfaction can still be felt when scrolling through the photos of a friend’s tropical vacation or reading about their new job promotion.
2. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real
FOMO is a fear of missing out (FOMO) that has existed for a long time. However, social media sites like Instagram and Facebook seem to increase feelings that other people are living more enjoyable lives or have better lives than you. You may feel like you are missing out on some things, which can affect your self-esteem and trigger anxiety.
FOMO can make you feel like you have to constantly check your phone for updates or respond to every alert. This could lead to anxiety, depression, and even driving risks.
A study by the University of Pennsylvania showed that loneliness is actually reduced when there is a lot of social media usage. The study also found that social media use can make you feel more isolated and lonely, and it can improve your overall health.
4. Anxiety and depression
To be mentally healthy, human beings require face-to-face interaction. Eye-to-eye contact is the best way to reduce stress and improve your mood. Social media interactions are more important than in-person relationships. This can increase your risk of developing or worsening mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
Around 10% of teens have reported being bullied via social media. Many other users are also subject to offensive comments. Twitter and other social media platforms can become hotspots for hurtful rumors, lies, abuse, and can even leave emotional scars.
Taking endless photos and sharing your thoughts on social media can lead to self-centeredness that can cause you to lose touch with real life.
6 Signs Social Media Is Affecting Your Mental Health
Everybody is unique, and social media use can be unhealthy. There is no set amount of time you spend on it, nor how often you check your updates or make as many posts. It is more about the effect social media has on your mood, your life, and your motivations to use it.
If your social media usage causes you to neglect face time relationships, distracts from work or school, leaves you feeling angry, jealous, or depressed, then it could be a problem. You might also want to reconsider your social media habits if you are motivated to use it because you feel lonely or bored or post things to make people jealous or upset.
These indicators that social media could be negatively affecting your mental well-being include-
1. Spending more time on social media than with real-world friends.
Social media has replaced a lot of your offline social interaction. Even when you are out with friends, you feel the need to constantly check your social media because you think others might be having more fun than you.
2. Comparing yourself with others on social networks
Low self-esteem and a negative body image are signs of low self-esteem. You might even be prone to disordered eating patterns.
3. Distracted at work or school
You feel pressured to share regular content about yourself, receive comments or likes on posts, and respond enthusiastically to posts from friends.
4. You don’t have the time to reflect on yourself
Engaging with social media takes up all of your spare time. This leaves you little to no time to reflect on who you really are, what your thoughts are, and why you behave the way you do. These are the things that will help you grow as a person.
5. You engage in risky behavior to get likes, shares, or positive reactions on social networks
Playing dangerous pranks, posting embarrassing material, cyberbullying others, accessing your phone while driving, or in other unsafe situations.
6. Sleep problems
Are you checking social media late at night, early in the morning, or when you get up in the morning? Your mental health can be affected by the light from your phone and other devices.
I hope you understand why social media is bad for depression. Social media doesn’t help you feel better or boost your mood. Instead, it makes you more anxious, depressed, and lonely.
Also, be alert for symptoms of depression. If you notice signs that your child/teenager might be depressed, take them seriously. Ask them how they are doing, and don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with a psychologist.