Social media is the new way of life. People don’t just work, eat, sleep and play but spend a considerable amount of time on social media. Social media may not be bad after all if used sparingly. The dangers tend to be dire if used for long periods of time, however.
One other common activity that people tend to do when browsing social media is sitting. As harmless as it appears, sitting is killing people and has been linked to several other killer diseases. You want to be keen on how long you sit; the next time you are browsing social media.
That said, too much of social media while seated is not the best of habits for your psychological health. Just like the way it affects young people, social media has the potential of having the same detrimental effects on adults. Research conducted in the past has warned children and teenagers against the dangers of social media. Some of these dangers include cyber-bulling and depression resulting from Facebook.
To make this clear, let’s get down to what exactly could be the reasons Facebook could be harmful to your mental health.
- Social media connections make one sadder than happy
Ever felt isolated socially? That is the effect social media sites can have on your well-being. While they may be said to keep one engaged and connected, that is not true in the long run.
As matter of fact, past studies have cited a clear correlation between Facebook use and less satisfaction in life. Also, Facebook users tended to have a less span of happiness as compared to those who spend less time on social media.
In the study, young adults were the most affected. More time spend on social media was said to make one feel isolated more than when compared to other solitary activities. Imagine longing for a real connection and then decide to visit Facebook because that is where you believe the true connections are. As fate would have it, you get fewer post engagements and likes. This could leave you feeling less important and isolated. Established social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest, Google+, Linkedin, Facebook and YouTube have been linked to social isolation. Studies show that the more people engage with these sites the more they feel isolated.
- Social media is addictive
Whether social media is addictive as the internet is a subject most experts are yet to decide upon. However, there is existing evidence that both addictions may exist. Researchers from Nottingham University coined the phrase ’Facebook Addiction Disorder’. This they did based on previous studies that focused on personality, psychological characteristics and social media use. ‘Facebook Addiction Disorder’ is typical of common addiction behaviors that fall under the influence of social networks. Some of the addiction behaviors include escapism, tolerance to addictive behavior, a preoccupation of the mind and experiences that modify the mood.
Social media addicts also undergo withdrawal symptoms just like alcoholics. A Swansea University report gave credence to the fact that social media users were also affected psychologically when they stopped using the internet or social media.
People who stopped using social media reported feeling anxious as well. Interestingly, these psychological feelings also tended to be reflected in their physiological physic as well.
- Induces feelings of envy triggering a vicious cycle
Swallow the pride and accept the fact that it’s quite unbearable to watch other people advance in their lives. This is especially so when yours is not moving the same pace as your peers. Psychologically, everyone wants to feel good and be at par with the people around them.
A slight change in your social or economic status is a possible trigger for jealousy feelings in your friends. This comparison tendency is prevalent in social media sites such as Facebook.Whether it was your photo or video upload of a vacation or loving family; other users could feel more jealous at the appearance of your success. Opinion makers have held to the fact that Facebook and other social media sites could be breeding ground for negative feelings. If a user is feeling jealousy because of a friend’s post, he/she may want to also post jealousy inducing pictures to feel appeased.
- Having several friends on social media doesn’t make you social
There is a difference between having real friends and virtual friends on social media. Most of your virtual friends on social media are people you rarely meet with. Connecting with them into building true and lasting relationships is close to impossible. Also, if depressed or going through tough times in life, virtual friends can hardly give you the therapeutic effect you are longing for. For instance, loneliness is a causal factor for many health and mental problems that could lead to death. Help can only be found in real friends who come to mourn or console with you.
However, if looking to amass friends and followers for marketing purposes, this could be a whole different scenario. Social networking sites have now introduced a buy option for likes or comments. Case in point, if a brand on Instagram, you can now be able to buy 50 Instagram followers.
- People keep coming back to social media thinking it will solve their problems.
When depressed or feeling lonely, some people have the common habit of finding solace in social media. Like any other addiction, a victim always goes back to it thinking it will solve their problems but it doesn’t. In a study about Facebook as a potential problem solver, participants believed they would feel better if they use Facebook. Unfortunately, many participants still felt worse after using it.
This is an unhealthy habit that could lead to a more disastrous effect on their victims.
The bottom line
Social networks have revolutionized our social interactions. This has also the potential of causing mental problems, however. Social media users need to be careful about the dangers they face and stop relying on Facebook to solve their problems.