Social Media and Mental Health

The Harmful Effects of Social Media on Mental Health 

Social media takes up so much of our time nowadays. While there are benefits to this, there are also disadvantages and harmful effects. Social media can harm your mental health by training your attention span to be shorter which leads to great sensitivity to distractions and difficulties concentrating.  

Another effect that users of social media experience is known as the “Slot Machine Effect.” The name comes from the feeling of those who use slot machines and how every time you play you do not know what the result will be. Usually, you will lose but the few times that you win will keep you hooked on the game and keep playing. This technique is built around the thirst for instant gratification of the likes, messages, and comments that you receive after posting. Social media enables validation and a second identity or sense of self. There is a false sense of connection and validation from others created so users feel they are gaining connection even though they are missing out and becoming more isolated.  

The worst harm from social media is the one that makes users depressed. There is a dangerous comparison made when you are viewing other people’s highlight reels of life and comparing that to your own non-filtered and non-airbrushed life with challenging times and flaws. The feeling of missing out when you think other users whose profile and posts you view are out having fun and living their best lives. Of course, this is a false sense of reality and logically it is known that everyone has good times and troubled times. Most of us must work and make a living to afford time off or support ourselves and others. However, on social media demanding work is not always broadcast since it is a less than extravagant part of life.  

There is also an effect on the dating lives of social media users. While online dating apps and websites can connect people and create ways for new opportunities, it is often a misconception of viewing various options online and feeling there are many more options than there realistically are. When online you can form a connection over instant messaging with anyone and if you also find that person attractive you will hope for a future. However, after most first dates you learn that there is no chemistry, you have no desire for a second date, and a dent in the bank account. 

Benefits of Social Media

While there are disadvantages, some helpful and useful ways social media can be used are to stay in touch with people around the globe who you cannot see in person. Social media can also be used to network with others in your field and from connections that open doors to opportunities in your career path. 

Social media can be a platform for creativity or art expression. With so many viewers and clients online, who need artists or simply admire art and want to appreciate it, there are endless jobs available for artists. 

Another benefit of social media is the emotional support aspect it gives to those who are not comfortable disclosing their personal information, naming their identity, or are isolated and cannot get help in person. There are various emotional support systems online and social media helps benign help and educate those who need help about the options available. This information would need to be intentionally researched if it wasn't broadcasted or advertised on social media. 

How to Heal and Recharge

Some ways to beat social media addiction and harmful effects from over usage is to limit your use of it by setting timers or checking how much your daily usage is at the end of each day. This will help you stay mindful and will help you begin to decrease your usage. Another way to decrease your social media usage is to turn off notifications. Even when you are not using your phone, the notifications from different social media platforms make it so that you pick up your phone and are tempted to click on the app. Which then adds to your time on social media that day and over time creates a tendency for you to access this social media platform or app that the notification came from.  

The most impactful way for you to limit you time on social media is to have priorities or responsibilities outside of your internet connected world, so that means having in person connections with family and friends, making sure to cultivate those relationships and spend quality time with the people in your life. This is the healthiest form of human interaction since it is not over a screen. This will strengthen your mental health and connection to the outside world. around you. Which will make social media less appealing. The truth is that social media’s instant gratification and addictive fake friends and connections are not comparable to the people or relationships in real life.  

The hardest and quickest way to be less attached to media is to plan how long you would like to be off the grid and unreachable and then to simply quit for that amount of time. You would still need to check in every so often to make sure of no emergencies and check in for safety reasons. You should notify your peers of your time off in advance. 



Social Media’s Impact on Self-Esteem,narcissism%20and%20decreased%20social%20skills.&text=60%25%20of%20people%20using%20social,esteem%20in%20a%20negative%20way  

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Social Media and Mental Health