Daily immersion in social networks has become an integral part of a modern lifestyle. If social media plays such a big role in people’s lives, then it’s important to realize the influence they have. For example, every time an entrepreneur is brainstorming about how to go global with their company through social media (you can read 5 Steps to a Successful International Digital Marketing Strategy to get a grip on this). It may be that a person sacrifices his mental health and well-being for the sake of online communication and is wasting his time in vain. What do scientific studies say about this?
Since social media is a relatively “new” phenomenon, the final conclusions are still lacking. However, modern studies have provided quite a bit of information about what is happening with the mental health of a person under the influence of social media.
Depression Is Gaining Momentum
Social networks can both cause depression and aggravate it. According to one small study, it was revealed that a platform such as Instagram occupies a leading place among social networks, which leads to the onset of depression. Therefore, most people have low self-esteem and feel envy. This is due to the fact, that the person begins to compare himself with others and gains a sense of deficiency and the feeling that everything in life is bad.
According to More Research
According to another research, it was found that there is a connection between a sense of dissatisfaction with life and the use of Facebook. For two weeks, participants were sent messages on the Facebook platform 5 times a day. As a result, it was revealed that the longer the researched person used the social network, the more his sense of satisfaction with life was undermined, and there were prerequisites for the depressive state.
Social Media as a Starting Point for Narcissism
Today, many people may agree that social networks have become fertile ground for people with a penchant for narcissism. A study was conducted on the discovery of the relationship between Facebook, and the emergence of narcissism in which the behavior of 100 people were analyzed. According to this study, it was revealed that there is the presence of narcissism and low self-esteem among the participants who led the most active online life on the Facebook platform. It is likely that such people use social networks to “feed their ego”, as well as to substitute feelings of low self-esteem with an online presence.
Increased Fatigue and Reduced Stress Tolerance
When a person works in a continuous flow of information and successive emotional impressions, the brain gets very tired. As a result, the body is under stress. It is worth noting that while hanging out on social platforms, a person looks at the monitor for a long time. An overabundance of such activity lends itself to fatigue, regardless of what information a person reads.
The Development of Psychosomatic Illness with Social Media
Most people did not know about numerous diseases, including popular depression before the advent of the Internet. With the advent of publicly available reference books and various publications in the network, people fall under the development of psychosomatic diseases.
Patients with cyberchondria believe that they have a disease that they read about on the Internet. As a result, a healthy person can convince himself that he has serious problems.
Here the “Placebo effect” plays a serious role. A person at a subconscious level begins to convince himself that he or she is mortally sick. The brain actively collects information that comes from the organs of perception, and the person begins to focus attention on insignificant changes that he or she had not paid attention to before. Constant nervous tension ultimately leads to the emergence of various physical and mental diseases.
Google Effect Reduces Brain Function
People who spend a lot of time on the Internet become subject to the so-called Google effect. People stop developing their brains causing it by the fact that any necessary information is just a click away. As a result, the human brain will cease to perform such important functions as storing information. It is worth noting that this can even happen regardless of the will of the person.
The “Google effect” seems harmless, but it is fraught with the development of sclerosis and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Nomophobia is the Modern Fear of Many People
This phobia develops in people who are addicted to mobile communications. Disease prone users who diligently monitor the development of the industry and spend more than two hours a day using their mobile phone. In the absence of access to a mobile phone and Internet access, patients are overly anxious. In the clinical case of a disease, a person without a telephone and the Internet can fall into a real panic.
According to Trendhunter research, it was revealed that 66% of the human population suffers from nomophobia. Moreover, 77% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 have nomophobia, while people between the ages of 24 and 34 are as little as 9% behind the previous figure. For the prevention of disease, experts recommend reducing the use of the smartphone and the Internet to the required minimum.
Loneliness Among Online Friends
Despite the fact that people now have more ways to maintain communication than ever, the level of loneliness is growing. This is especially noted among elderly people. Many would agree that with the use of social networks, they have less deep connections with other people.
It must be remembered that loneliness increases the risk of premature death as well as obesity.
Social Media Dependencies
Social networks have great addictive potential. According to the data, there are1.4 billion daily active users on the Facebook platform. That is a significant risk of addiction.
- The first reason is that social media work annoys pleasure centers in the human brain. A person experiences pleasant emotions, every time he reads a friendly comment, “like”, and so on. The desire to re-receive these emotions again pulls a person into the Internet and makes it spend more and more time there.
- The second reason is the speed of obtaining information. A person instinctively searches for the easiest ways to achieve pleasure, even if these ways are ineffective and lead to harmful consequences. The speed and availability are important prerequisites for the formation of any psychological dependence.
Social Networks Contribute to the Development of Fears
Social networks develop a sense of fear of missing an event, and the user is constantly under pressure from this fear. Numerous studies show that a person is constantly concerned about how he will look in the eyes of other social media users in regard to quotes, photos, videos he posts, and other details that are placed on his web page.
Primary Symptoms of Problems with Social Media
As noted above, over-reliance on social networks can cause mental health problems and cause various negative influences. Note the following signs of dependency:
- constant check of social networks;
- communication with relatives only in social networks;
- social networking check is the last what you do before bedtime, and the first you do after waking up;
- the feeling of panic if you did not use social networks for several hours;
- obsession with the desire to make a photo in order to publish it on your pages;
- compare yourself with other users on the Internet;
- a person gets upset if people have not commented on the new post, and the thoughts to delete it if a person had not received the expected response.
Conclusion: Is It Good or Bad?
Putting the final verdict that social media is only harmful is not correct. However, it can be said that social media have a very different impact on people depending on many conditions. First of all, it depends on the person.
As in the case of food, gambling and many other temptations of modern times, excessive use of social networks may be undesirable for some people. But, on the other hand, it would be wrong to say that they are indisputable evil because the networks provide many advantages. It is necessary to reasonably assess the situation and does not abuse the pastime on the Internet!
About the author
Frank Hamilton has been working as a translator at translation service TheWordPoint. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing, and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.
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