Social Media has taken over our lives at an alarming rate in the past few decades. With over 4.5 billion people using the internet, of whom 3.8 billion use social media, a person is highly unlikely to not have a digital life.

For instance, Instagram claims to have 1 billion users who use their app every month. Combine that figure with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms' viewership, then you will realize that the majority of the world population have been socially active in the digital world.

Based on a study done by scholar J. Clement in 2019, a person uses a social media platform for about 2 hours and 16 minutes on an average day. 

Social Media in the Modern World

In recent years, social media has turned into a unique space for many people to voice their opinions and advocate for what is right. Movements like #DressLikeAWoman, #HeForShe, #BlackLivesMatter, and #ALSIceBucketChallenge, has been actively used on these platforms to fight or raise awareness for important social causes. 

However, if one were to look deeper, social media has seeded a difficult path of mental health problems. 

Let us now explore why Social Media can bring forth a vicious cycle of deteriorating mental health despite being a blessing for digital advocacy

1. Lack Of Human Connection & Interaction:

Many recent studies have shown that the age group that tends to get affected by social media is teenagers and young adults. Even worse, these young souls have more chances of getting depression compared to other age groups.

However, social media can't only be blamed for depression; but what is evident is that there is a strong correlation between depression and social media.

A strong correlation was first noticed when the rate of depression increased with the rate of smartphone productions.

One of the ways smartphones have brought mental health problems is by replacing emotional human connections with its advanced electronically driven platforms.

This deprivation of emotions in humans has also lead to perceived isolation and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) —both of which make people go into depression thereby creating uncontrollable wants in them.

2. Body Shaming & Cyberbullying

While most online influencers today celebrate body positivity, mental health appreciation, and more, there is also a segment of individuals who get driven into a whirlpool of specific body image pictures posted on media platforms.

Because of this, such individuals end up hating their physical orientations. They crave to have specific body types and are easily depressed because of body shaming and cyberbullying on the internet.

3. Social Dependence & Mental Health

When you see aesthetically perfect posts and status from people who like to showcase their reputation on social media, you will either end up doing the same or develop a level of self-doubt in you. Not only will you start judging yourselves but you will also start determining your happiness based on someone else’s life.

In an experiment conducted by author Morten Tromholt, it was found that people who didn’t use Facebook for a week were generally much happier and satisfied with their standing in life. A total of 1095 people were sampled for the experiment.  

4. No Rest For Brain to Solve Real-life Issues:

 A Harvard study has revealed that our brain releases dopamine when we get a social media notification.

And in such a scenario, when we decide to put our phone down to rest, our mind will unknowingly trigger itself to keep thinking about the notification itself.

This occurs because our brain is seeking a certain level of validity of our social media habits such as posting status, pictures, lifestyle news, and engaging in unnecessary instant messaging for quick social gratification. 

When that happens, our brain perceives our habit of inducing a quick dopamine cycle as a reality. It forces us to always engage in social media activities.

But doing so, we forget that our real-life issues remain unsolved. But when reality hits us, then we are likely to be a victim of anxiety, depression and/or stress. 

5. Impact on Health & Productivity

Good sleep is strongly related to our overall wellbeing.

But when we don't sleep well, we are not only inviting dreadful diseases such as diabetes, heart failure, and others, but we are also negatively impacting our productivity in the long-run. 

Consequently, our lack of productivity and good health can severely impact our mental health as well. 

6. Sleep Cycle

Being an active social media user during the day can significantly affect our sleep cycle and also make us tired, hungry, and inactive during the next day.

Not just this, the blue light from our screens will also have damaging effects on our eyes.

Conclusion

Focus on your life, work hard and smart, and don't waste your valuable time using social media extensively. And also, refrain yourself away from disinformation and fake news/sources since they can also bring unnecessary negativity in your life.

Only participate in a social cause you love, and refrain from visiting the sources that aren't trusted and verified.

Always, do proper research before interacting with any page or person on social media.