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Should You Delete Social Media For Your Mental Health?



Both mental health and social media have risen in popularity in recent years. Social media is brilliant in many ways, but is it worth having if it has a negative impact? In this article I will explore this topic, and maybe even change how you view things.


The positives of social media


Before I explore the negatives, I first want to look at how social media can be positive. One positive is it allows you to connect with people. This could be by staying in contact with your friends, seeing how your peers from school are doing, having a look at what celebrities are up to, or even meeting new people. From my experience of being at university, social media allows me to stay in contact with friends that I no longer live nearby. This means as well as just generally messaging them, it is also nice to be able to send them things that you find funny or have a common interest in. You might watch a show and like one of the actors performances and so follow them to know what they are doing next, or look at your favourite musicians account in order to know when they next release a song. If you watch a certain sport it can also be useful in knowing what the latest news is and keeping up to date by following certain accounts. It can also even allow you the opportunity to make new friends, as if you both follow something in particular then this instantly gives you something to talk about. Social media also allows you a voice. Now, while this isn't always good it is important for people to be able to voice their opinions and it is easier for more people to see it online. If these are positive, for example getting nice comments on your post, then it could improve your mood. Promotion is something that is also important when it comes to social media. With so many eyes on it, more and more people are able to benefit financially from it and even have it as their only source of income. This could include being able to show everyone your cupcake business in order to generate more sales, or just being an influencer where you make all of your money off of promoting other brands to your large audience. Social media really can make careers and give people a new route in life.



The negatives of social media


Looking at the other side of things, there are negatives that come with social media as well. I think the main one is clearly the access it gives people to abuse others. This can include commenting horrible things on their posts or even sending direct messages to them A big issue with these social media apps is that it allows people to be anonymous. This means that they can hide behind an empty or fake profile and so face no consequences for their actions. These people know they can't be caught and so feel comfortable to abuse people in disgusting ways, which would be much less of an issue if they made everyone authenticate their account. It also allows people to control their own narrative and manipulate people into thinking their life is different to what it might actually be. This could mean adding filters to their pictures in order to make them appear more attractive, or posting pictures that give off the impression they lead a different life to their reality.


How could this impact your mental health?

So, we've looked at the positives and negatives of social media, but how can this actually impact your mental health. Looking at the positive aspects first, being able to stay in contact with your friends and develop relationships is really positive. Being able to contact people easily when you need them gives you that support that can be important. If you are someone who is getting positive comments and lots of likes, them this can also increase your confidence. Confidence can do a lot for your mental state as lots of people are self-conscious and have anxiety about how they look and this can remove those doubts they may have. On the flip side of that, if the comments are negative then of course this has the complete opposite affect. When people say horrible things about you then you start to believe it yourself, even if it's not true. It can completely ruin your mood which then leads to a decline for your mental state. This is something that has more of an impact for those in the public eye, as we have seen with people like Caroline Flack who tragically couldn't take it anymore. The quote I've used here is actually very recent and from the Chelsea FC manager Graham Potter, and even though it is an email the comments on social media are very similar. While things haven't been going well for him with his job, this is just completely out of order and he himself has said that it has affected his mental health. My other point with the negatives was putting across things that aren't reality. Editing pictures, especially when in the public limelight can impact lots of people. It gives unrealistic standards and when people compare themselves to this then they put themselves down and lose confidence. It also impacts whoever is posting the edited photo as they clearly aren't completely happy with how they look, but now they will always compare themselves to the post and feel they won't ever be good enough. This is similar to when people only post the good things as people look at this and compare it to their lives which have lots of negatives. In reality, these influencers will also have bad days but just choose not to show it. It isn't their fault, but still can have a negative impact on those consuming the content.


So, what should you do?

With both positives and negatives it can make it difficult to decide what to do when it comes to social media. For some it may not affect them, for others it may be as simple as unfollowing certain accounts or not allowing comments on their posts, and for some they may even benefit from deleting it altogether. Overall, if you realise it does affect you, I would suggest that the best route to go down is to use it in moderation. There are lots of better things you can be doing with your time that also have a positive impact on your mental health, such as going for a walk or meeting up with friends, but that doesn't mean you can't use it at all. Just make sure to use it sensibly and with caution, knowing not to believe everything you see.


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