Social media and mental health
This week, on October 10, we recognised World Mental Health Day.
The theme for 2022 is Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority.
Social media is often linked to mental health issues like depression, anxiety and loneliness.
As a social networking platform, the mission of Glimmer is to inspire and empower each other to take better care of ourselves and our planet. Responsible and ethical online communication and collaboration is key to this aim.
This makes Glimmer a social networking platform of a different kind:
“The emphasis for Glimmer is positivity and encouragement, looking after each other’s well-being. Glimmer is all about inclusivity and respect”—Glimmer founder and CEO, Nancy Lutchman.
In the following essay, 15-year-old Diya provides a teenager’s view of social media and it’s potential for harm.
Social Media: a teenager’s perspective
Author: Diya, 15
Should we be worried about the direction social media is taking? We live in a world today where technology has developed so much that everything is now digital. Social media is one of the biggest internet propaganda platforms, and although most of the time it is used for good reasons, social media has led to many negative effects.
Social media refers to platforms presenting a variety of information through different users. Social media started off being a creative space for everyone, where people could connect with each other and share ideas but as the world has changed and as time has gone on, social media has become, I think we can all agree, one of the most harmful things for us.
Why is social media bad? Well, social media has affected people’s mental health and self-image, and created unrealistic beauty standards. It has also caused an increase in cyberbullying.
Social media has created various mental health problems for many people because of the way we use it. The use of social media is to make connections, share information, or get entertainment. But the way it affects us negatively is when it starts getting addictive, to keep scrolling page after page, looking at unrealistic goals, and start to think “why isn’t my life like that?”, “why don’t I look like that?”, or “why don’t I have that?”. That is when we start comparing ourselves, get jealous, inhabit bad thoughts and that’s why it takes a toll on our mental health.
The earlier kids begin to use social media, the larger the influence it has on their mental health. This is especially true for girls. While teen males are more likely to act aggressively physically, girls are more likely to express by excluding others and sharing hurtful comments online, which also increases the opportunity for harmful interactions such as cyberbullying.
Social media platforms are ways for some foul people to spread hurtful rumors, comments, lies, and leave impactful effects on innocent people. Cyberbullying is again a consequence of how we use social media, and this is because of the time. Many sources say that teens that spend less time on social media are more likely to NOT experience cyberbullying.
Lastly, self-image. Neha Chaudhary, a child and adolescent psychiatrist says, “People end up creating unrealistic ideals for themselves based on what they see, and feel distressed when they aren’t able to meet those ideas or self-expectations”. Social media influences your body image by showing you photos of “idealized” body types. This can lead to you comparing yourself to them, which makes you feel less about yourself and make you think you need to meet those beauty standards.
Furthermore, while social media does have its positive side, because of our human nature to continue doing the things we think that we enjoy, social media has created sufficient negative effects that impact us immensely. Instead of that we should continue doing the things that make each other and ourselves happy outside of social media.
If you or someone you know is having trouble with unhealthy social media habits, or continue to have feelings of anxiety or depression, see your doctor or a mental health professional.
Glimmer hopes to provide a safe environment for social networking.
Put simply, we want to be kind—for the well-being of ourselves and each other, and for the well-being of our planet.
The Effects of social media on mental health. https://lancastergeneralhealth.org/health-hub-home/2021/september/the-effects-of-social-media-on-mental-health
Negative Effects of Social Media on Mental Well-Being. https://nursinganswers.net/essays/negative-effects-of-social-media-on-mental-well-being.php.
Does Social Media Do More Harm Than Good for Society? https://www.makeuseof.com/does-social-media-do-more-harm-than-good/.
Why Social Media Can Make You Feel Bad about Your Body — and 3 Easy Tips to Use Social Media to Boost self-esteem. https://www.insider.com/how-social-media-affects-body-image.
Social media and low self-esteem. https://www.acc.edu.au/blog/social-media-low-self-esteem/.
Social Media and Self-Doubt. https://childmind.org/article/social-media-and-self-doubt/
6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/?sh=4a3be2b22e5a
The Complicated Truth about Social Media and Body Image. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190311-how-social-media-affects-body-image.
Teens and their experiences on social media. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2018/11/28/teens-and-their-experiences-on-social-media/#:~:text=Others%20believe%20social%20media%20has.
Social Media and Mental Health – HelpGuide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mentalhealth.htm#:~:text=The%20negative%20aspects%20of%20social%20media&text=However%2C%20multiple%20studies%20have%20found