There are many benefits introduced with the expansion of social media. For example, it is convenient, entertaining, and, most importantly, it allows you to easily communicate with your friends and family.
On the other hand, it is crucial to never abuse social networks. The addiction to using FB, Instagram, or TikTok has become a real issue in recent years, especially among younger generations. If you think that you are also affected by frequent use of these platforms, check out MentalHealth.com and consult with a professional.
The best approach is to determine certain limits and stay aware of the negative sides of them. We will provide more details about the impact of social media on mental health in the following article.
Psychological Mechanisms as a Leading Factor
The fact is that all of us love to be praised and complimented all the time. Social networks allow us to enjoy that feeling all the time. All you need to do is post a picture of yourself, some interesting video, or a favorite song, and you can expect that your followers will like and share it.
This is a crucial mechanism that will make us feel better instantly, and the reason for that is the dopamine release that the user will feel. The same process is common among gamblers and people who play video games.
Reaching a lot of likes will simply make you feel better. However, the trigger will become more demanding over time, which means that some people may decide to go further in their attempt to attract more likes and a lot of new followers.
While it might make you feel satisfied, that can also lead to stress and anxiety when you skip a whole day without posting a single thing on social media. It is known as Fear of Missing Out. This feeling will motivate the user to make more effort into creating a lot of new content all the time, so it can remain active, and popular.
Comparison as a Leading Issue
You must keep in mind that people are sharing well-selected content that will show them in the best possible way, or a way they want to present themselves. First of all, the use of AI tools and software for picture editing is widely used today. Many people use these options to hide some imperfections.
However, those with lower self-esteem may fall for this, and start feeling that everyone else is living a life filled with entertainment, while also having a perfect appearance.
It is a trap that will lead to a distorted sense of reality. Those who get addicted will often start being much more active, or even break some barriers to get more attention, like sharing explicit content.
Too Much Information
There is nothing wrong with having the ability to chat with your friends online and stay up to date on the latest news all the time. However, scrolling down the newsfeed and looking at various posts and people can become a problem.
For instance, a short stroll down that was supposed to be a 5-minute break can easily turn into hours of watching various content. That will cause procrastination, lack of responsibility, and anxiety in the end.
Online Abuse is a Serious Problem
Kids and younger teens are especially endangered because they are already in a turbulent period of their lives. A well-known thing is that kids will follow the most recent trends, form groups between them, and pay special attention to them.
The problem is when there is a person outside of that group or someone who hasn’t adapted to a certain trend. It can be a simple detail like wearing some clothing brand, having a smartphone, or being good at playing video games. There are many examples of abuse led by such irrelevant details.
On the other side, there are serious cases of abuse where a person will start posting negative things online about the victim. That will lead to a lot of attention, causing stress, anxiety, and depression for a person who is abused.
The whole community needs to address this issue and start promoting the Internet as a safe environment for kids and teens.
What is the Best Practice?
As you can see, some potential issues can lead to serious consequences. However, developing an addiction or anxiety won’t happen overnight. If you are responsible and aware that not everyone you see there is honest, there is nothing to worry about.
Social media can be a great tool to meet new people and learn a lot of new things, but only if you use it in the right way. The best practice is to limit the use of these platforms. If you catch yourself that you spent half of the day scrolling down the news feed, address that as a problem and prevent yourself from doing the same thing every day.
Moreover, if you are feeling an urge to check on new posts, or share something new after a short break, it may be a sign of a bigger problem. Getting mixed emotions after checking on most recent posts, and feeling things like anxiety or lower confidence may be a sign that you should consult an expert. Taking action in the early stages will make a solution much easier.
There are no reasons to worry about any negative effects when you are a stable and confident person. However, keep in mind that side effects won’t come in a short time. This is something that you will build as a habit.
The main issue is for people who are spending too much time on these platforms, and basing their lives on it. In such cases, a lack of likes or a negative comment on some posts could be a trigger for mental issues.
The invisible threat is related to unlimited content available, where enjoying short videos and similar things will release a small dose of dopamine each time.
TikTok is the best example of that. Those who suffered from addiction got overwhelmed by short and interesting content where each scroll will give something new. The result of that is hours spent on platforms while ignoring other things in your life. Like an escape from reality.