Social Media : A curse For Mental Health

"Oh! Look how amazing this dish looks. Wait! Don't eat it yet! Let me click a picture for my Instagram."

"Ahh, I am so confused between these two dresses, both are stunning.I should do a poll on Instagram!"

Our world revolves around social media. Numbers have become our friends, while we communicate with our actual friends through the four frames of our smartphones. Social media has quickly replaced our personal bonds and connections with our close ones. As we are glued to our screens, scrolling through our Instagram feed, the more we scroll the unhappier we become.

She's got a perfect smile. Look at her vacationing abroad in an expensive resort. She's got a perfect smile. Ughh! Why can't I just have a perfect life like hers?

As thoughts swarm your mind and gobble you up from inside, like a parasite infesting your mind, your mental, emotional and physical health deteriorate. For a technology that has evolved over the years to connect the globe, it's funny isn't it, how we are so immersed in our virtual life that we forget to seize the beautiful moments life presents us with.

Especially as young adults and teenagers social media has a huge impact on our social lives, however we as social beings need constant human interaction to keep ourselves sane and happy. 1 in 10 youngsters struggle with intense depression. This accounts for around 20% of the youth.

However, with each passing day we seem to be drifting away from our reality, as we let social media envelope us in its folds. 62.5% of people agreed on social media having a negative impact on teens.

How Can Social Media Affect Our Mental Health? 

Depression, anxiety, fomo, isolation, lack of self confidence and self esteem, narcissistic behaviour, are some very common side effects that social media burdens us with. It leaves us overwhelmed and restless.

Mental Health is a very important part of our sanity and it is therefore, equally important for us to be aware of the risks that come with too much screen time.

 

  1. Loss Of Self Esteem - When was the last time you looked at your body and smiled? Today, no? Okay, yesterday? No?!
  • With 85% of people across the globe already falling prey to low self esteem, social media only adds to it. In fact, 75% of girls who have low self esteem engage in toxic behaviour like self harm, bullying, smoking and drinking.

  • The virtual world of social media looks like the summer edition of the vogue magazine. Skinny, tall, perfectly sculpted girls don their finest luxury designer wear, as they pose with their skin glistening under the sun's warm rays. They look perfect, don't they? Well, let me give you a reality check. Most of us are aware of the skillful ways bodies can be photoshopped and faces can be sculpted to look like a victoria's secret angel model. While some of the images do represent the reality, there are millions of pictures on the Internet which have been manipulated. A survey revealed that 47% of students agreed that an influencer's lifestyle contributed to low body esteem. 

  • There's a fine line between the real world and the virtual world and darling, you only see what they show you i. e, the highlights of their lives,their vacation pictures sitting at a Mexican bar or on a cruise trip. People rarely show the flip side of their life on social media. In fact, adolescents who grow up comparing their lives to these influencers have severe body image and low self esteem. 71% of adolescents are negatively impacted by the reel lifestyle. 

So, love yourself. Love every inch of your body. Love every scar and every mark that the world has told you you should be ashamed of. Love your fat rolls or your skinny waist. The world's definition of perfect, doesn't make you any less perfect. Not conforming to the beauty standards that the world has laid down for you, doesn't take away your beauty. Believe in yourself and your magic.

  1. Depression And Anxiety -
  • The more we lose touch of our reality, the more we become vulnerable to the negative impacts of social media. Study says that people who use social media actively are at a higher risk of about 2.7x times to acquire depression.

  • Depression causes disability and is the main reason behind the global disability rates..

  • The impact of mental health and depression is the leading cause of suicide globally.

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  • 1 out of 5 people who are under depression are more likely to commit suicide.

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Don't let the virtual world wedge a gap between you and your loved ones. An in-person conversation with our friends or family works like a charm and is the remedy for all your stress. Laugh with them, let the sound of the laughter ring in your ears and make you feel alive. Live in the moment and appreciate every second.

  1. Cyber Bullying - Cyber bullying is a crime that millions of social media users are subjected to every day. The concept of trolling someone in the name of fun or sexually harassing someone via social media, have been some trends that have been brought to light. Teens in the age group of 12-17 have been victims of cyberbullying. 30% have been cyberbullied multiple times. 60% of people have seen others getting cyberbullied but chose to ignore.

  • The social media influencers and celebrities that you look up to every day or even common people, have all fallen prey to this crime at some point.Not only do these derogatory and explicit comments impact a person's mental health causing high stress levels but can also haunt them for a lifetime.30% of the time they are trolled based on their appearance. Yes, shocking right? How can they be trolled when they have the perfect symmetry. They are also bullied based on other factors like their sexual preference gets them bullied 27% of the time. 16% due to the religion they follow. 12% based on their gender. 6% if they are specially abled.

  • Study states that youth under the age of 25 who fall prey to cyberbullying, are at a higher risk of committing self-harm and suicide. Amongst teens, 61% are bullied due to their appearance. 15% on their financial status. 17% due to their ethnicity. 15% due to their sexuality.

  • Members belonging to the LGBTQ community are twice as more susceptible to depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders resulting due to cyber-bullying and psychological trauma. 42% of people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community have experienced cyber bullying. 35% have been threatened on social media. 33% have claimed that they have been sexually harassed online.

  1. Narcissistic behaviour - Some people are an open book on social media. Their life is transparent on their social media stories and posts. They share innumerable selfies and every feeling and emotion that flows through them. This can lead to a destructive amount of self obsessive behaviour, where you believe that your social media and your selfies are the centre of the world while creating a bridge between you and your real life.
  • Teens spend considerable time scrolling through their social media platforms. These teens invest a lot of time clicking selfies the entire day. So much so that every single year records teens spending approximately 7 entire work days only clicking selfies.

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Approximately 36% of selfies are photoshopped to an extent.33% retouch their skin to make it look flawless. 16% also retouch alter the shape of their face. 15% alter the tone of their skin. 5% alter the shape and size of their lips and mouth region. 

The investment of time and effort to alter the selfies are often done to attract attention. This is because selfies of a person’s face are known to garner 38% more likes. 32% more comments and photos edited using filters are 21% more viewed and to attract 45% more comments.

There is no age for mental health casualties. Very young children may also portray signs of mental health. Next time someone wants to talk about their mental health, please do not invalidate or belittle their thoughts and feelings. The world needs more kindness, compassion and empathy.

While social media is an integral part of our lives and we are continuously dependent on it for entertainment and self satisfaction, it's important to prioritize your sanity. Love yourself enough to admit that your mental health comes first. Love yourself enough to consciously make a decision to limit your screen time.


By anil12kuma | Updated on Tue, August 04, 2020 - 11:58:57 AM


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