Social Media and Mental Health

Social media is a tool used for communication, entertainment, collaboration, information, and social organization, used by people of various age groups. Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites that consist of over one billion active users. Its utilization is for business and personal communication that can serve positive advantages of increased connectivity, sharing of ideas, and online learning.  Social networking sites have impacted the way people communicate and interact. The development of social networking sites have increased the time spent on devices which has led to the reduction of interpersonal communication with both family and social environment.  It enables a person to interact with a large number of people, but the interactions are described as shallow and cannot replace face to face communication.  90% of social media users were between the ages of 18-29,  they spent approximately two hours a day on social media. Bailey Parnell a social media expert discussed  the consequences social media has on a person’s mental health.   Parnell focused on 4 common stressors of social media.

  • Highlight reel is the collection of a person’s brightest moments and it becomes a stressor when comparison is made to other peoples highlights
  • Social currency, value is placed on likes and dislikes given to a person by others.
  • The “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO), according to a Canadian university 7/10 students did not want to get rid of their social media accounts because they did not want to be left out.
  • Online harassment, has been either experienced or witnessed by anyone who owns a social media account with targets that are women, people of color, or part of the LGBQ community

There is so much information stating that social media is harmful to our mental health but  social media is not the  problem but it’s the  users who create a harmful environment. There is no evidence that states Facebook or any other social networking site causes depression especially if they are used for reasons other than communicating with family and friends.  It has been seen to decrease rates of depression. However extensive use of social networking site used in other forms than communicating with loved ones may weaken their relationship by increasing feelings of loneliness.  On the contrary the hyper personal model is an aspect of the positive results of social networking,  it allows users to portray appealing traits of themselves to other social networking users. The selective self-presentation impacts an individual’s self-evaluation and self-esteem.



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