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What to Know About Social Media and Mental Health

What to Know About Social Media and Mental Health

Social media use can result in poor quality sleep and harm mental health. It is associated with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Many people in today’s world rely on their smartphones as virtual companions. Social media has become firmly integrated into a lot of people’s daily lives. According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of people in the U.S. now use social media.

At its core, social media is a powerful communication tool that has changed how individuals interact with each other. It raises how people exchange and share information, thoughts, and ideas across virtual networks. However, social media does have downsides. Some evidence suggests that its use — specifically, its overuse — can negatively affect mental health in numerous ways.

Keep reading to learn more about the links between social media and mental health, including the positive and negative effects that this tool can have on individuals.

A 2015 Common Sense survey found that teenagers may spend as much as 9 hours a day online. Many of these individuals are themselves concerned that they spend too much time browsing social networks. This wave of concern suggests that social media could affect the mental health of its users. They noted that students who use social media for more than 2 hours daily are significantly more likely to rate their mental health as fair or poor than occasional users.

Regular, high-quality sleep is crucial for well-being, and evidence shows that sleep problems contribute to adverse mental health effects, like depression and cognitive impairment. Besides the adverse effects on sleep, social media may trigger mental health struggles by exposing individuals to cyberbullying. In a 2020 survey of more than 6,000 individuals aged 10–18 years, researchers found that about half of them had experienced cyberbullying.

One of the downsides of social media platforms is that they offer individuals the opportunity to start or spread harmful rumors and use abusive language that can leave people with lasting emotional scars.