In such a technologically advanced and driven world, social media plays such a big part in many aspects of people’s lives, including mental health. With 63% of using social networking sites everyday, whether that be Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, they are quite clearly more popular than ever before. There is no doubt social media has changed the way we live and communicate, however, is this change for better or worse?
Like many people, my experience with social media has been at both ends of the spectrum. Since signing up to social media, it has been an incredibly positive tool in networking and raising awareness, particularly in engaging with people I wouldn’t usually. Rather than limiting sharing my campaigning endeavours and experiences to only the people around me, social media has allowed me to engage with people in different towns, countries and even continents. For us to continue increasing awareness, it is so important we engage with people of all different backgrounds and social media very much allows people to do that. For somebody who has always struggled to make friends, I’ve also found it very helpful in forming new friendships and interacting with people whom I can relate to.
While it does have numerous benefits, social media definitely has its pitfalls. With connections at our fingertips 24/7, surely we are in danger of becoming too reliant on social media? Whenever I use social media too frequently, I also notice a change in my mood. While endlessly scrolling down feeds and looking at other people as many of us do, it’s only natural to start comparing yourself to others and feeling unhappy. Many of us have insecurities and using social media in such regularity only re-affirms those doubts. Rather than focus on myself and my own aspirations, I all too often feel envious of other people and it very much knocks my confidence.
Particularly with Instagram, the barrage of perfectly filtered photos are causing huge self-esteem issues and contributing to the rise of eating disorders and suicides in the younger generation. Many of us are starting to form unrealistic expectations of life and so feel a pressure to look and be a certain way- and that is hugely damaging.
Overall, I would argue social media is more bad than good for our mental health. A clear correlation between social media and the rise in mental illnesses exists- and more needs to be done to change this!
Thanks for reading,