There has been much discussion about the negative effects of social media on mental health, but in reality the impact may be more nuanced. With billions of users interacting with each other across a variety of platforms, there’s no doubt that social media affects us on a daily basis. But what exactly is the impact on our mental health?
The Pros and Cons of Social Media on Mental Health
Social media can have a negative impact on mental health in many ways, including:
- It can be addicting, leading to a compulsive need to check social media feeds many times a day
- Social media may take away time that could be spent on activities that are enriching to your mental health, such as face-to-face interaction, exercise and sleep
- Social media may create unrealistic expectations when users compare their appearance or lives to others
- Some studies have linked social media to depression and anxiety, especially when people experience FOMO or “fear of missing out”
- Late-night social media scrolling can impact the quality of sleep
- Some studies have linked social media use to low self-esteem
At the same time, social media can have positive effects on mental health. Through the power of social media, you may:
- Become inspired to improve your health and well-being when you see your favorite influencers practicing healthy habits
- Experience less social isolation and loneliness when you can connect with like-minded people online
- Find support groups that can help with anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns
- Experience higher self-esteem by making friends online and finding your voice on social media platforms
- Be able to express your creativity and be recognized for it, which can help you feel more confident
- Stay in touch with friends and family, creating a stronger support network
- Be able to follow therapists and mental health professionals to learn more about mental health
Top Three Social Media Mental Health Tips
Some people may experience the positive effects of social media, while others may find that the internet has a negative impact. Part of the reason why may have to do with how social media platforms are used. Follow these tips to make sure your experience on social media is healthy:
- Limit social media use: Establish a specific time when you check social media, then log out of your accounts in between sessions. Avoid using social media late at night or first thing in the morning. It may be helpful to turn off notifications so you’re not tempted to glance at updates.
- Don’t rely on the internet for all social interaction: Make time for in-person contact, social events and face-to-face hobbies.
- Be cautious about who you follow: Make your social media platforms a place that is uplifting for you, and block any trolls or online bullies. Consider having a smaller audience so you can nurture genuine interactions.
Contact Taylor Counseling Group Today
Are you suffering from social media addiction, depression or anxiety? The team at Taylor Counseling Group is here for you. Schedule an appointment online at one of our many convenient locations across Central Texas.