Two and a half hours. That is the amount of time the average person spends using social media platforms each day. The longer the amount of time we spend sucked into social media, the higher the chances are that our mental health suffers negatively.
Why is social media harming the mental health of those who use the platforms? Most people who spend hours on their phone browsing through apps are likely to find themselves comparing their lives with the lives that people are seemingly living and posting about. In short, FOMO (the fear of missing out) is a real psychological state of mind that occurs. In today’s world, we are constantly checking and updating ourselves because we need instant gratification and solace. Knowing that someone approves of our content cannot wait and needs to be known immediately.
The group of people most threatened by repercussions to their mental health are young adults born in 1995 or later. This group of young adults and teenagers are most at risk when it comes to their mental health suffering because of social media overuse. Based on research published by the American Psychological Association, there have been “sharp increases in the number of young adults who reported experiencing negative psychological symptoms”. These symptoms include depression, anxiety, and self esteem issues. The greatest spike in symptoms among this group occurred in 2011, when social media was becoming extremely popular and more widely used. Degrading mental health issues are of serious concern to young adults and teenagers, and the long term effects are an aspect that needs greater care and attention.
There are three main parts of the brain that are most greatly affected by depression and anxiety; the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex.The hippocampus and the amygdala are both responsible in dealing with either hormonal or emotional responses in the brain. When a person is experiencing depression, the chemical balances of cortisol spike to abnormally high levels. This can lead to permanent alterations in these sections of the brain. The part of the brain that is of most concern when analyzing young adults is the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex does not fully develop until around the age of 25 in most adults. This part of the brain is responsible for regulating emotions, making decisions, and forming memories. For young adults dealing with depression, this means that their decision making skills are altered significantly and can result in carelessness regarding their personal well being. This leads to a more likely chance of self harm and even suicide.
The rise of social media has gained incredible popularity in a short amount of time. Young adults and teenagers being the generation that uses social media the most. With increased use of social media platforms, the risk of users suffering from depression and other mental health issues is also increased. Due to the stage of brain development in young adults, mental health takes a serious toll on chemical balances within the brain. Social media is something that will continue to be a part of culture in the future. A consideration of how and when people are using these platforms is an essential aspect that needs greater attention.
Content facts received from the following
Charles, Shamard. “Social Media Linked to Rise in Mental Health Disorders in Teens, Survey Finds.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 15 Mar. 2019, www.nbcnews.com/health/mental-health/social-media-linked-rise-mental-health-disorders-teens-survey-finds-n982526.
Grohol, John M. “FOMO Addiction: The Fear of Missing Out.” World of Psychology, 8 July 2018, psychcentral.com/blog/fomo-addiction-the-fear-of-missing-out/.
Legg, Timothy J. The Effects of Depression on the Brain. Healthline, 29 Feb. 2016, www.healthline.com/health/depression/effects-brain#1.
“Prefrontal Cortex.” GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog, 4 Sept. 2019, www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/prefrontal-cortex.
Salim, Saima. “How Much Time Do You Spend on Social Media? Research Says 142 Minutes per Day.” Digital Information World, 4 Jan. 2019, www.digitalinformationworld.com/2019/01/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic.html.