In the UK, social media is a part of daily life for most of us, with 84.3% of the population using it for an average of an hour and 52 minutes each day. Whilst there are several benefits, there are also numerous negative effects of social media. With Reclaim Social Day occurring in February, we thought we would look at how social media can impact your mental health.
What Is Reclaim Social Day?
Reclaim Social Day is a yearly event that seeks to highlight the possibly harmful effects of social media and encourage us to ‘change the face’ of it, making it a force for good! It also helps to shine a light on the more positive aspects of social media, such as the support that #MeToo garnered.
What Are Some Negative Effects Of Social Media?
Events like Reclaim Social Day are needed due to the negative effects of social media, these can include, but are not limited to:
Reducing Face-to-Face Interaction
Social media can end up actually making us, in some ways, less social. Being physically present with another person can offer support that online communication may be unable to. Particularly when we consider the multitudes of non-verbal cues that we use to make our meaning clear.
It Can Lead To A Higher Risk of Depression
Research indicates that a significant relationship exists between social media usage and depression. Both the time and ‘intensity’ of usage contribute to the presence of depressive symptoms.
Relationships Are More Likely To Fail
A study published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology stated that ‘individuals who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience Facebook-related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.’
How comfortable we feel online can lead to one of the negative effects of social media. This is because, with this freedom and assumed lack of accountability, some individuals choose to take part in cyberbullying. This can be hugely damaging to the victims, but can also impact those of us who are not directly involved as seeing people who choose to be intentionally hurtful can negatively impact our perception of humanity as a whole.
Social Comparison Reduces Self-Esteem
Individuals tend to present a highly curated view of their lives on social media. This gives us unrealistic expectations of the lives of others and when we compare ourselves to them it can damage our self-esteem.
Lack Of Sleep
It is easy to lose a considerable amount of time scrolling through social media. This often occurs in the evenings, when we have got into bed – this lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, depression and even psychotic episodes.
How Can Social Media Be Used Safely?
There are many things that you can do to keep your social media usage as healthy as possible, such as:
Follow positive accounts – View things that make you smile, not things that cause distress.
Live in the moment – It’s fine to pause to take photos of a beautiful sunset, but make sure you actively enjoy it in the moment too.
Use it at appropriate times – Don’t let it keep you up at night, or be the first thing you see in the morning.
Take a break – If you are experiencing negative effects, consider taking some time away from social media.
Seek help if you need it – If social media has negatively affected your mental health you should consider seeking professional help.
Get Help Dealing With The Negative Effects Of Social Media
If you are ready to take a step towards a happier, healthier life in which you don’t allow social media to negatively impact your mental health, then please book a FREE discovery call today.
To learn more about us, please read our previous blogs.