Social Media: How Does it Affect Us?

Aubrey Boland, Staff Reporter

In a time where we rely on social media more than ever, users need to be aware of the effects that it can have on their health. Studies have shown that social media can severely impact a person’s mental health, causing anxiety, depression, and various other mental health problems. Despite social media’s aim to bring people together, it can often leave users feeling even more isolated and lonely.

Statistics show that an estimated 3.8 billion people, over half of the world’s population, use some form of social media. With 2.7 billion current users on Facebook alone, social media has become a widespread commodity and a true phenomenon; however, it doesn’t come without a price.

Social media is a great way to communicate and interact with people from all over the world. In a way, social media makes the world a little smaller, but many users can get wrapped up in social media and it can take a toll on their mental well-being.

A 2020 study has shown that people who deactivated their Facebook account for a month reported lower depression and anxiety, as well as an increase in happiness. While it is unclear whether or not social media can actually cause mental illness, there is a direct correlation between social media use and depression and anxiety rates leading researchers to believe that social media does, in fact, have an impact on mental health, especially in young adults.

In a society where perfection is the ultimate, unattainable goal, social media only further feeds this obsession. Many people compare their own lives to people they see on the internet, which can contribute to low self-esteem and a negative self-image.

In a survey conducted by the Florida House Experience, an alarming 88% of women and 65% of men said they compare their bodies to the images in the media. In that same survey, 51% of women said they feel pressure to look “perfect” on social media.  It’s important to remember most everything on social media is curated to look “perfect,” when in reality, it’s not.

While social media is a great way to connect with people, it can also be severely harmful to our mental health, but there are some ways in which we can manage our social media use and help to combat these effects.

Reducing your amount of screen time can have a huge impact on your overall mental health. Go outside and enjoy the weather, take your dog for a walk, hang out with friends, and have a “no phone rule.” All of these are small ways that you can take a break from social media and enjoy the things that are right in front of you.

You may also consider having a set time to put your phone down at night to help get a better night’s rest which will positively impact your overall physical and mental health. Lastly, take a break from certain social media apps if you notice that they are negatively impacting your mood or your health. The app will still be there when you are ready to come back.