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Posted: September 6th, 2023

The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health: A Cause and Effect Essay

Introduction:
Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, with millions of people using various platforms to connect with others and share information. While social media has many benefits, such as providing a platform for social interaction and facilitating communication, it can also have negative impacts on mental health. This essay discusses the causes and effects of social media on mental health.

Causes:
The generation of unrealistic expectations is a primary contributor to the harmful effects of social media on mental health. Social media platforms are saturated with edited and filtered images that project an idealized version of reality. This, in turn, can generate unrealistic expectations of what life should look like, culminating in feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and anxiety.

Moreover, cyberbullying is another factor that contributes to the negative impact of social media on mental health. Social media platforms create a shield of anonymity for individuals to bully and harass others. This anonymity can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, and social isolation, leading to long-term damage to an individual’s mental health.
Effects:
One of the most significant effects of social media on mental health is the increase in anxiety and depression. Studies have found that individuals who spend more time on social media platforms are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is often due to the constant comparison to others, the pressure to present a perfect life, and the potential for cyberbullying.

Another effect of social media on mental health is the impact it has on sleep patterns. Many individuals use social media before bed, which can lead to disrupted sleep patterns and insomnia. This can lead to feelings of fatigue, irritability, and impaired cognitive function.

References:

Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among US adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17.
Tandoc Jr, E. C., Ferrucci, P., & Duffy, M. (2015). Facebook use, envy, and depression among college students: Is facebooking depressing?. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 139-146.
Kuss, D. J., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). Social networking sites and addiction: ten lessons learned. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(3), 311.
Lin, L. Y., Sidani, J. E., Shensa, A., Radovic, A., Miller, E., Colditz, J. B., … & Primack, B. A. (2016). Association between social media use and depression among US young adults. Depression and Anxiety, 33(4), 323-331.
Questions:

What measures can individuals take to minimize the negative impacts of social media on their mental health?
How can social media platforms and technology companies take responsibility for the negative impacts of social media on mental health and work towards solutions to address them?

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