Social media and Internet usage is the norm across the world, but it has the power to negatively affect our mental health. Like cell phone prices, screen time rates are steadily rising. It seems as if everyone in the world uses social media. Why wouldn’t they? Whether it be close friends or strangers, social media connects us to people and ideas in seconds. Instant gratification from people, search results, and checking the weather causes people to cling to their phones. Funny videos and keeping up with the news are all examples of how social media keeps us constantly checked into the world that is inside of our phones. We have become acclimated with how the Internet and social media affects our lives. It is difficult to imagine the world we live in without Internet access, however, studies show that staying connected can have its consequences.
The effect that social media has on its users is silent. According to MedicalNewsToday.com, “Social media has associations with depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation, particularly among heavy users.” These repercussions will especially affect the generations of people who grew up with the Internet. A trend is not acceptable or cool until social media shows that it is. The pressure to maintain appearances and connections through social media can be overwhelming for young adults or teenagers. This can manifest in insecurity, anxiety, and lack of confidence. Society values popularity, likes, and followers. People tend to only show the positives in their life on social media. This can skew the public’s perspective of what is actually going on in their life. The false reality created by heavily edited posts and perfect lives is abundant across many social media platforms. People can feel insignificant when they do not adhere to societal standards that are set on social media. Hours of screen time can also cause people to become disconnected from the real world.
Shutting oneself off to the outside world and spending too much time online is linked to depression. If mental health issues that correlate with social media usage becomes more apparent, will people take a break from social media?
Life skills that are necessary to become successful are built from real world experiences. It is imperative that this is instilled in the youth of the world. In 2010, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took matters into their own hands by creating a comprehensive survey that analyzed Internet usage and how it correlates with mental health. As explained by Onlinelibrary.wiley.com, “Students frequently become engrossed in computer games due to stress related to worries about school achievement. Students with problems of maladjustment to school or study are vulnerable to Internet addiction.” The Internet poses a threat to students and their success in school. Middle schoolers or adults in college can allow the Internet to distract them from their priorities. The stresses of school in addition to the pressures of social media is not healthy for any student. Students can let their phone or gaming device take over their lives. This can cause them to fall behind in classes and as a result their grades will drop. By taking a break from the Internet and social media, individuals can take control of their life and their future.
Today’s society is not too far gone. We still have the chance to educate ourselves on internet addiction and how it affects us mentally. Research backs up these effects that can have a detrimental impact on ordinary people. Encouraging less screen time and more meaningful interaction is encouraging a positive mindset. By learning the risks we can take control of our mental health, which will promote a better life. We can also pass on our knowledge to the youth.