Social media is a great way to be entertained and see the highlights of people’s lives through posts. According to HelpGuide, some positive outcomes of using social media can be communicating with people around the world, raising awareness, and finding new communities. However, social media can negatively affect the user’s mental health due to the created and often unrealistic standards that are shown through what people put on social media or the way people take advantage of the platform.
One example of how social media is affecting the user’s mental health is the “fear of missing out,” which is known as FOMO. FOMO is essentially anxiety about missing out on experiences or events. With social media, people are able to post about anything they want, and as a result, they might post the most significant event of their day. For example, someone may post about a party they went to, and if someone sees that they were not invited, they would feel left out, according to the National Center for Health Research.
FOMO can also pressure people to feel the need to check their social media constantly to make sure they are not missing out. According to TIME, when people constantly check their social media, it leads to an unhealthy addiction that makes you feel worse about yourself.
Social media also creates an unhealthy standard on body image. It is common to see people edit their photos for social media to make themselves look better. This unhealthy standard that is portrayed on social media affects users and causes them to have trouble differentiating reality from expectations, making it difficult for them to accept their bodies, according to McLean Harvard Medical School Affiliate.
Not only does it create an unhealthy standard of body image, but it also creates jealousy as the users of social media start to compare their lives with others. Many people tend to post highlights of their life on social media, which can be a very nice vacation they went on. According to Forbes, the comparison of people’s lives to their own triggers feelings of jealousy and creates a connection between depression and envy. When everyone is continuously trying to have a better life than someone else’s life that is shown on social media, it becomes mentally exhausting.
Social media can affect a person’s mental health due to their own decisions, but sometimes something unfortunate as cyberbullying can happen to someone while using social media. When using social media, people can create anonymous profiles allowing people to still use social media like everyone else while hiding behind the unknown profile. With these anonymous profiles, people often take advantage thinking that no one will find out who is behind the profile. This then leads to cyberbullying, which is bullying a person through the use of the internet or social media.
According to the National Center for Health Research, 72% of teen social media users have stated that they have been cyberbullied at some point. Cyberbullying is greatly correlated to depression and suicide attempts. This clearly shows how social media is strongly affecting one’s mental health.
Social media can be used positively to create social connections, but there are many negative aspects to it. Although many people will still continue to use social media because of how addicting it is, we should all be aware of the created unreasonable standards of social media and continue to use it positively, while avoiding all the potential downfalls.