Social media impacts our daily lives because it is easy to access and seemingly addictive. Since the emergence of millions of websites, online gaming and gambling, and other diversions, social media sites have found a way into the lives of many.
The constant presence of social media can have some psychological effects on its users — both negative and positive.
Here are some ways social media affects mental health:
Blogs, photography, shared artwork, videos and graphics, and other forms of media offer an opportunity for individuals to express their creativity.
The constant comparison of photos and up-to-the-minute reports of exciting events in others’ lives can take a toll on a the self-esteem of some. People who are insecure about looks and appearance may find themselves comparing their features with “Facebook friends,” models, people on Pinterest, etc. — and begin questioning their worth.
Trends and societal pressures may adversely encourage some into following only what is popular at the moment. Peer pressure has advanced beyond high school — it is now an accepted norm on Twitter (and other sites), often to the detriment of participants.
- Becomes a form of escapism
For those who have difficulty interacting through in-person social engagement, going online and constructing an imagined identity may be preferable to facing real life issues.
Social media offers both positive and negative mental health effects, but it’s best to monitor our time spent online to ensure we aren’t becoming addicted. The instant gratification we get from receiving “likes” and positive feedback from others can be encouraging, but it may also alter behaviour. While certain social media platforms are a great source of positivity and encouragement, negative online comments can be devastating and lead to depression.
To combat the negative mental health effects of social media, we must understand that our self worth is not dependent on others’ (especially strangers’) perception of us. When we learn to distance our true life from an online persona, we can embrace life on our own terms without added social media pressures.
Constant internet and social media use can take a toll — addiction, depression, and isolation affect our daily lives and the people around us. If you or a loved one in the Toronto area is struggling with low self-esteem issues or internet addiction, please contact York Region Psychological Services. Call us today at (416) 602-3230 for a caring consultation.