My friend once said the current generation is very lucky for being born in a time where social media exists. Back in the days, it is so hard to stay connected to your loved ones when you are far away. It is also hard to stay connected with your friends after you have finished school and move away for university. Without social media, it was so easy to drift apart from other people because they had no easier way to contact one another. Nowadays, social media has become a huge part of society’s life. It has somehow defined and shaped our lives throughout the years. Through social media, we have changed many aspects of our lives, especially in the way we communicate. With the many positive changes social media has brought upon us, there are also negative changes that we cannot ignore. One of these negative claims is that social media can cause depression among teenagers. This article would list three of the factors that support that claim.
1 – Social media can cause isolation
Based on a study from the National Library of Medicine, it shows a relation between the period on social media and perceived social isolation (PSI) in young adults that uses social media on a daily basis. However, there was no clear direction whether these people developed PSI because of the amount of time they spent on social media or did the feeling of isolation made them turn towards social media. Although, in another study, it says people who use social media frequently tend to develop this fear of missing out from the social world which can result in a detachment from reality. We care so much of what is happening in the social world that we start to ignore the present reality that we are in. Consequently, we will start to drift apart from the people in our reality and that can cause a sense of isolation because we don’t interact much with the people around us.
2 – Self-esteem
Social media is known for its ability to make people lose self-esteem. People tend to post only good things on social media. The glamorous side of life where they look perfect 24 hours a day and their lives are filled with adventurous and fun things all the time. Looking at this all day can make them perceive this as the “normal” and they will start to question, why aren’t they looking like those girls? They will take that as their model for what is beautiful and compare themselves to it. This can affect your mental poorly and you will start to lose self-esteem. Many surveys have been conducted with the result saying that social media are the platforms that cause feelings of anxiety and depression about body image. The filters on social media are also not helping in setting a healthy body image and healthy standard of beauty. Constantly comparing oneself to the supposed perfect image on social media will only bring more bad news than good.
3 – Less active
Spending time on social media would mean less physical activity. Physical activity is essential not only for your body but your mind as well. You can even learn other new things if you can spend less time on social media. Develop new talents or learn new language or skills, these are the things that can make you feel more accomplished in life and it can boost your confidence. If you spend too much time on social media, you do not get many opportunities to make them feel good about themselves. This can contribute to developing depression related to the usage of social media, hence, be very careful and take breaks from social media.
It is undeniable that social media can be very good if we use it correctly, but no one has ever come out with a guideline of using social media so people, especially children, use it in any way they like. This can be very bad for your mental health, particularly people who tend to easily believe social media lies. Malaysians should be aware of this because we are highly addicted to social media. Through social media awards Malaysia, we can spread this awareness.
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