Social media and mental health

Social media, it’s something that several people have. Whether it be Snapchat, Instagram or any of the other social media apps out there, it’s accurate to say that a lot of us are addicted. However, is social media impacting our lives more than we think it is?

According to Statista, over 78% of the U.S population has some type of social media profile, and our generation, Generation Z, uses these social platforms the most out of all other generations. Although these apps have done good like rekindle friendships, and inform us of what is happening around the world or locally, social media is a big contributor to negative mental health.

 The National Center for Health Research has reported that social media has been linked to anxiety and loss of self-confidence in teens. These apps are doing more harm than good because we are showing people a fake life, the life that we portray online. Recent studies by the NCHR have shown that there is a dramatic increase in depression and suicidal thoughts in teens who are constantly on the screen, mostly checking social media apps. These apps are giving social media users actual numbers and data on who likes them and what people think about how they look. Rachel Wilson, a freshman who recently took a break from social apps explained to me why she thought taking some time off from the social apps was a good idea. “Social Media is just a big “odd flex but okay” like people get wrapped up into showing off their clothes and places they go even if it’s unintentional. But when you take a step back it’s like you’re not worried about anyone else or what you’re doing”. She explained that taking a break from social media gave her time to herself and she became more productive. It is easy to say that social media can sometimes be in control of us. We are constantly checking to see the new posts, who snapchatted us, or how many likes our pictures are getting.  We are also under pressure to always look good and many of us will even go to the extent of using filters on our face to make ourselves look better in a photo. Social media often shows a fake version of yourself, a version that we want ourselves to be. Behind the screen, we may be a completely different person than what we portray online, and this also goes for people who are famous on social media apps. Just because someone is famous on social media, does not mean that in the photos they post they are genuinely happy. Many people get so woven in on the lives of others on social media platforms that we forgot that we have a life too other than our phones. Sometimes, just taking a break from social media can help you a lot. Ms. Krohse, an Eagan High School Counselor told me that the balance of social media use is something that everyone should learn. Ms. Krohse explained, “Teens and lots of adults too need to learn how to balance and learn boundaries, and how to use it for the good uses that are available.” The West Virginia Education Association reported that teens spend nine hours a day on entertainment or social media use. This time can be used for more productive things and forming a good boundary of when social media has been enough for the day. Ms. Krohse recommended kids to maybe try leaving their phones at home one day. Sometimes, just taking a break from social media can help you a lot. When asked, if she would recommend people to take a break from social media Rachel Wilson said, “I would 110% recommend people to take a break even just from one social media platform.” Although these apps are addicting, we have to start putting our phones down and living in the present moment more, it doesn’t last forever to cherish it while you can!

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