Social media is such a big part of our lives, but have you stopped to ask how it’s affecting you, specifically your mental well-being? If not, don’t fret! Researchers have been studying the effects of social media on mental health for several years now, and the results are enlightening. Below are the top 8 scholarly articles on how social media may be affecting your mental health.
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In this study, kids who spent more time on social media than their peers were more likely to experience poor mental health, psychological distress, and thoughts of suicide. The authors warn that parents should consider frequent use of social media as “a possible indicator of, or risk for, mental health problems” in their children.
“Facebook Envy” is real, but does it lead to low self-esteem? Or is it communication overload from all of our social media use that is causing this negative effect? The authors of this article conclude that communication overload is playing a larger role than we think when it comes to our mental well-being.
People work hard to make themselves socially desirable on Facebook, and users tend to compare themselves to their friends. That’s a bad combination, according to this study! Comparing yourself to others on social media leads to depressive symptoms, anxiety, body shame, and low self-esteem.
When you’re on your laptop or watching a movie, do you pull out your phone too? This type of “media multitasking” is associated with depression and social anxiety, according to this study! Perhaps this goes back to “communication overload?”
Are you lying about yourself on social media? Have you ‘liked’ your friends’ posts even though you really didn’t like what they shared? If so, this article looks at how you are at a higher risk for anxiety and depression compared to people who don’t lie on social media!
In many studies, Facebook is the primary social media site studied when examining mental health. The authors of this study also looked at Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. Their study found similar results as the others; social media can be bad for your mental health especially when you are comparing yourself to others. However, they challenge that by removing self-comparison, social media can have positive effects on your health!
The authors of this study wanted to prove other researcher’s wrong by showing that online communication was good for loneliness, depression and social support. They succeeded in their study, as their participants’ mental health improved after several weeks of chatting online anonymously with other people. However, the authors note that there was not a control group in their study, and it is possible that external factors influenced the improvements of their participants.
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