What Are the Effects of Social Media on Mental Health?
Social media plays an active role in our everyday lives, playing off the idea that these online platforms are here to help keep us connected. In reality, these very platforms have also been increasingly linked to mental health issues and have negatively affected the quality of real-life social relationships. Studies have shown that social media content has given rise to envious feelings that can further lead to depression and anxiety — all of which can cause a downward spiral in people’s psychological well-being. This is why you need to understand the ins and outs of the potential adverse effects social media use can have on the mental health of your child.
Social Media and Self-Harm and Suicide
As mentioned previously, studies have shown that the use of social media correlates with increased feelings of depression and anxiety among adolescent users. These studies have highlighted that increased screen time among young adults has been linked to a higher risk of depression, suicide, and self-harm. Social isolation, comparison, and online peer pressure also contribute to the rise of depression, suicide, and self-harm in young adults.
Social Media Effects on Body Image and Eating Disorders
The use of social media platforms can lead to lower self-esteem, according to a study done in 2017. Constant exposure to adverts posting models with what they consider “ideal body types” leads young adults to compare themselves to unrealistic standards, eventually leading to lower body satisfaction in young women. Unfortunately, in some cases where those social media victims have become unsatisfied with their bodies, they may often partake in harmful and unhealthy behavior, including eating disorders like bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa, to try and meet these unrealistic beauty standards.
Social Media Effects on Loneliness and Suicide
In 2020, BMC published a study with multiple data points regarding what they called “social media disorder” and its relationship to loneliness. Researchers also uncovered that women were more likely to experience feelings of loneliness than men. A similar study by the University of Pennsylvania found that Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook have negatively impacted many people’s well-being. The injuries sustained from social media algorithms have varied anywhere from increased feelings of loneliness to depression. The Current Opinion released a publication noting that suicide, in direct correlation with the problematic use of social media, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide among 10- to 24-year-olds.
- What Can I Do to Protect My Child on Social Media?
If you believe your child is clocking in more than 120 minutes of social media daily, this may be a cause for concern. However, in some cases, it may be more difficult to tell if your child is a victim of social media addiction and how you can help protect them. Signs to look out for include but are not limited to:
- Inability to focus due to social media use
- Reduced interest or interactions in the real world
- A constant need to visit social media apps or sites
- Using social media in hazardous situations, such as driving or working
In some cases, your child can be influenced to use social media in more than just self-damaging ways. Suppose you believe your child is engaging in social media inappropriately through cyber-bullying or sexting. In that case, more immediate action may be necessary to help safeguard your child from harming themselves or others. For starters, according to Harvard Health, parents should begin to limit the amount of time their kids spend on social media throughout the day. For example, setting specific guidelines for when it is appropriate to put your phones away, like dinner or bedtime. Another option would be to place parental locks on their devices, blocking them from accessing specific sites or apps. Young adults who are no longer under the watch of a parent or guardian who may find themselves struggling with how to disconnect from these social media platforms can also incorporate these actions.
- Contact Our Attorneys Today to Learn More
No child or young adult should ever feel isolated or need to change who they are simply because an app made them feel inferior, especially when these feelings are the result of a corporation’s negligence. For over 27 years, Ehrlich & Naparstek has been helping people like you get the justice they deserve. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered from the harmful effects of social media, our attorneys may be able to help you. For more information, please contact our offices Contact us today at (772) 842-8822 or (561) 687-1717 or Web@ENinjurylaw.com