Social media and the news is something that is consumed by the public on a daily basis. Every day whether you are in a bar , restaurant , workplace or in public its sometimes hard to escape it. So why might it be affecting our mental health? well recent studies have shown a worrying increase and link between mental health conditions and social media usage. Additionally news coverage of traumatic events such as terror attacks and accidents contributes to a damaged public perception of the world around us.
Social Media And The Next Generation
Social media is not a new phenomenon and has been around since around the start of the millennium. However over the past thirteen years the use of social media has risen dramatically. Its almost unheard of nowadays for a kid in the uk to not have some form of social media whether that be facebook , snapchat or Instagram amongst other apps. The leap to online has transformed a generation and their are arguments on both sides about the effect it is having on the younger generation. Originally social media was simply a way of sharing news and photos as well as messages. However now social media can be used to advertise products , publicise events , organise meetings and much more. It is estimated over three billion people have access to the internet and some form of social media with over a billion people active on facebook. The next generation have embraced social media but there are a number of factors that need to be dissected relating to social media and the affects it can have.
What Effects Is Social Media Having?
Social media is having mixed effects across the globe and there is no one size fits all policy for it. One of the negative effects social media can have is contributing to anxiety. For many social media is a source of fun and information. For others it is a popularity contest and an opportunity to show off to the crowds. Some people may get anxious about what others post online and also their perceived online appearance. This is because social media can have a strong influence on younger people due to the vast majority of their friends using it as well as peer influences. As well as contributing to anxiety too much social media usage has also been linked to depression in some cases.
How Can This Be Changed?
Changing the way people perceive social media is no easy task. Social media can be interpreted differently on a case by case basis. However there are a number of fundamental changes that could be made in order to improve mental health awareness surrounding social media. Campaigns online raising awareness about the affects social media can have on mental health should be featured on social media sites such as facebook and twitter. Governments could setup dedicated support groups and classes assisting people who have become addicted to social media.
Overall social media can be used as a tool to connect people and stay in touch. However its pitfalls cannot be overlooked and in many cases are having a detrimental effect on peoples mental health. In order to change this more research should be done into the effects social media can have on people and their mental health.