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The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health 

By: Jasmine Dalton 

FRANKLIN, TN ( Mental health among young adults and college students is a serious matter that is faced across the country. One factor that can contribute to someone’s mental illness is social media. 

                                        Young adults on their phones connecting through social media  

Social media has come to occupy an increasingly large portion of our time and attention over the years. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter have grown to become the most popular forms of social media. According to Radias Health on average, a person spends 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media sites on an easy day.  

The effect of social media on mental health is tied to the key characteristics of networking. While someone is scrolling through their feed, they are likely to see the news of current events and what is happening in someone else’s life such as engagements, career advancements, gorgeous vacations, etc.  

Kiara Baker, who is a senior at UTC majoring in psychology says that social media can cause people to compare themselves to peers and strangers, making them self-conscious.  

This view of other people’s lives can prompt people to compare themselves to other people, which can leave someone feeling down or even dissatisfied with their own life. Fear of missing out, which is shortened to FOMO, is another common experience that social media can affect someone’s mental health. FOMO can lead to feelings of loneliness or sadness.  

                                       Diagram the represents the average time spent on each app in 2022 

In an interview with Karine Patel, who is also a senior at UTC makes the following statement, “Social media shows a lifestyle that really isn’t reasonable or real most of the time”, Patel continues to say,” It makes people viewing the content feel like they are behind in life or even like they’re a failure”. 

Constantly being exposed to those types of feelings can have a detrimental effect on someone’s overall well-being. While discussing with Kennedy Brownlow who is a student at UTC, she states, “People often sometimes get so caught up in what people’s lives look like on social media and fail to realize that what’s on social media isn’t always people’s reality and they could be going through so much more in real life”. 

Research has shown that high usage of social media can actually increase feelings of isolation, rather than promoting connection. In 2018 a British study tied that social media usage to decreased, delayed and disrupted sleep. A change in sleep pattern can affect someone mentally and physically.  

YouTube video from TedX talk “Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health?”

Another factor of social media that can contribute to mental health is body image. Jasmyne White who is a student at UTC says that Instagram plays the biggest because people see all those photoshopped photos. “It could make it hard for others who don’t fit the standard of ‘what everyone is supposed to look like’ and it could take a toll on anyone’s mental health”. 

While it can be difficult to find a causative relationship between social media and mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety, researchers believe that it is a contributing factor.  

Kennedy. Kiara, Karina and Jasmyne all agreed that Instagram plays the biggest role in affecting someone’s mental health.  

Some ways to repair the relationship between social media and your mental health include setting limits on your usage, turning off notifications, and practicing mindfulness.    

About Jasmine Dalton

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