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Living in a Virtual World: Uncovering the Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

In recent years, social media has been the subject of a heated debate. While some believe that social media can benefit our mental health, others are adamant that it has a detrimental effect. This brief will explore social media's pros and cons, providing an in-depth examination of its impact on mental health.

What is social media?

Social media is an online platform that allows users to create and share content, including videos, images, and text. It is a way for people to connect and interact with one another, and to share ideas, thoughts, and experiences. Some popular examples of social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. However, over recent years, people have started to find the ugly truth about social media and how it affects our lives.

The intended good

At face value, social media can be a source of immense joy, enabling us to connect with people outside our view and broaden our horizons. But the positive effects of social media on mental health go even further, providing much-needed social support, boosting self-esteem, and giving us access to invaluable mental health resources. According to Later, there are numeriouse social media platforms that could benefit our mental health like Headspace which helps with a range of common daily issues which include; Sleep, self-esteem and creativity.

It can be a platform for people to connect with others who may be going through similar experiences, offering a sense of community and solace in times of need. It can also be a safe space for self-expression, nurturing our self-worth and helping us to feel more empowered. Despite these comforting benefits, it's important to remember that social media can also provide a platform for social comparison, so it's wise to be mindful of how we use it.

The harsh reality

Social media can promote a culture of comparison and judgment.

Over the past decade, social media has become more influential in our day-to-day lives. People have become more dependent on their phones to the point where the whole concept is a blur. For example, tell me the last post you saw on Instagram. You can't can you? We as a society use it so much in form of procrastination that our productivity as a whole is hindered. Take Tik Tok for example. In 2022 around 6% of users had a "problematic use" in other words they were addicted. Being addicted to social media could lead to a decrease in real-life social interactions, which can lead to further loneliness. Thus creating poor mental health.

A further issue with social media is the false sense of closeness created by social media can be devastating, causing feelings of isolation. The never-ending comparison to others on these platforms can lead to severe anxiety and plummeting self-esteem. Moreover, the rise of cyberbullying has an immensely damaging effect on mental health.

To summarise

The influence of social media on our mental well-being is intricate and can have different effects on different people. On one hand, it can provide access to beneficial mental health resources and strengthen our social connections. On the other hand, it can create feelings of seclusion and decrease our self-assurance. It is critical to be mindful of the possible dangers of using social media and to take measures to safeguard our mental health. These may include reducing the amount of time spent on social media, being selective with the content we consume, and seeking professional assistance if necessary.


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