Social media: how does it affect our mental health and wellbeing?

Food for thought

Social media: how does it affect our mental health and wellbeing?

The first email was sent in 1971. For more than 40 years, social media has been caught in a storm. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are now used by a quarter of the world’s people. Such activity seems harmless, but some researchers believe social media may affect our mental health and well-being.

In 2012, the journal of medicine today reported on a study that suggested that Facebook use could increase anxiety and increase discomfort.

A recent study led by Ethan Cross, a social psychiatrist at the university of Michigan, found that using Facebook may even make us sad.

“On the face of it, Facebook offers a very valuable resource to meet the basic human needs for social interaction,” Kross said. “Instead of enhancing well-being, we found that Facebook USES predictions to the contrary – it undermines it.

But is that exaggerated? Should we limit our use of social media? “Medical news today” will examine the evidence.

What is social media?

In essence, social media has defined a number of Internet sites that enable people from all over the world to interact. This can be done through discussion, photos, video and audio.

Facebook is the leading social networking site with more than 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide. The site’s popularity follows MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and Bebo.

The latest statistics show that about 42 percent of online adults use multiple social networking sites. Perhaps not surprisingly, most social media users are under 30, although the number of older users is rising. About 45% of Internet users over 65 now use Facebook, up from 35% in 2012.

The average American spends 7.6 hours per month on social media, and most people visit social networking sites via mobile phones.

But what attracts us to social media?

In the late 1980s, the first commercial dial-up Internet service provider (ISP) went public in the United States. Internet technology has evolved over the past 25 years, and the word “dial” makes most people cringe./


Of course, one of the main attractions of connecting to the Internet is still the ability to connect better with the world around them. For example, the Internet lets us send E-mail as an alternative to the timely process of sending letters through email. Social media has been built on this premise.

Here’s Facebook’s mission statement:

“Facebook’s mission is to get people to share power, let the world more open and connected, people use Facebook, keep in touch with friends and family and to find what happened in the world, sharing and express the important things to them. “

This sums up what most social networking sites are trying to achieve, and there is no doubt that the public has succumbed to the world of social media, perhaps a bit too much.

Social media addiction

Recent statistics show that 63% of American Facebook users log on to the site every day, while 40% log on many times a day.

We all have our own reasons to use social media. Some of us like to look at other people’s status updates and photos, while others use these sites as a way to vent their emotions. But one of the main reasons we use social media is self-distraction and boredom, according to Dr. Shannon m. Rauch of the university of Arizona in mesa, ariz.

“As a result, social media is enhanced every time you log in,” she says.

For those who post status updates, the aid continues to come in the form of supportive comments and “likes”. Of course, we know that reinforcing behavior will repeat itself, so it’s hard for a person to stop. ”

This behavior can lead to a Facebook addiction. In fact, such behavior is so common that researchers have created a mental scale addiction scale for Facebook, the Berge Facebook addiction scale (BFAS).

The scale developed by Dr Cecile Andraessen of the university of bergen in Norway and his colleagues used six criteria to measure Facebook’s addiction. These include statements such as “you spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook and planning how to use it” and “you use Facebook to forget personal problems”. The researchers say that four of the six criteria for “regular” or “frequent” scores indicate a Facebook addiction.

Interestingly, researchers found that people who were more anxious and socially insecure were more likely to use social networking sites.

Last year, the journal of medicine today reported on a study that provided a potential explanation for Facebook’s “fame”.

Led by Germany, freedom of the university of Dar Meshi research team found that on Facebook have earned positive feedback in the brain, the nucleus accumbens (area) related to “reward” processing of showed stronger activity. This stronger activity is associated with greater use of Facebook.

From these studies, it appears that many Facebook users are using the site as a way to gain attention and improve self-esteem. But does it have a negative impact on mental health and well-being?

The negative effects of social media

In 2012, anxiety disorders in the UK investigated the use of social media and its effects on emotions.

The survey found that 53 percent of participants said social media sites had changed their behavior, with 51 percent saying the change was negative.

People who say their lives have been soured by using social media report that they compare their accomplishments with their friends and feel less confident.

“This issue has received recent attention,” Dr. Rauch said. “We know that a lot of people on social media often come up with idealized versions of their lives that lead to upward social comparisons, which can lead to negative emotions.”

In addition, according to the survey, two-thirds of respondents said that after the use of the site, two-thirds of respondents said they have difficulty to relax and sleep, while 55% of respondents said when they are unable to log on to social media account feel worried or uncomfortable.

Rauch, and colleagues recently conducted a study found that social media sites (especially Facebook) on social interaction is likely to have high anxiety of people face to face communication have a negative impact.

Another problem with social media use is cyberbullying. As mentioned above, most social network users are under 30 years old, most of them teenagers.

According to (EIE aims) – enough to make the Internet use for children and families more security organization – 95% use social media teenagers on social networking sites have seen the form of cyber-bullying, 33% have been the victims of cyber-bullying.

But Dr Rauch argues that not just using social media but getting out of control, you need electronic connections at all times.


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