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How Social Media Seriously Harms Your Mental Health

Fear of missing out

As our friends and family share pictures of all the good times they have on social media, we often end up feeling like we’re missing out on something important. 

This feeling is accompanied by social anxiety and low mood.

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Social media less harmful
The public and experts alike have blamed social media for a long list of mental health issues, including rising rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior among America’s youth. But research o...
Why girls are more affected

In girls, frequent social-media use seemed to harm health when it led to either cyberbullying and/or inadequate sleep and exercise. 

But these factors did not seem to have the same effect on boys, and the study didn’t pick up on specific ways that social networks could be harming them.

Balance is important
The message, really, is that it’s not social-media use, per se, that causes harm,” says study co-author Dasha Nicholls, who leads the Child and Adolescent Mental Health research team at Imperial College London. 

“It’s about getting a balance between social-media use and other age-appropriate activities, and ensuring that there aren’t specific negative things happening online."

Limit your use of social media
Limit your use of social media

Commit to not checking social media during meals with family and friends, and when playing with children or talking with a partner. 

Make sure social media doesn’t interfere with ...

Have “detox” periods

Even a five-day or weeklong break from Facebook can lead to lower stress and higher life satisfaction

Publicly declare you are on a break. And delete the apps for your favorite social media services.

You can also cut back without going cold turkey: limit your use of social media to 10 minutes a day for three weeks and you'll see improvements in your mental health. 

Pay attention to how you use social media

Experiment with using your favorite online platforms at different times of day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel during and after each session. 

You may find that a few short spurts help you feel better than spending 45 minutes exhaustively scrolling through a site’s feed. 

Social media

The rise of social media has meant that we as a global population are more connected than we have ever been in the history of time. 

...
Self-esteem

A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that many people suffer from “Facebook envy”, with those who abstained from using the popular site reporting that they felt more satisfied with their lives. 

Becoming more conscious of the amount of time you spend scrolling through other people’s online profiles could help you focus more on yourself and boost your self-confidence.

Human connection

It’s so important for us to be able to communicate and forge personal connections with one another. However, it can be hard to do so when we’re glued to rectangular screens, becoming more acquainted with our friends’ digital facades than their real-life personas.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that assessed 5,208 subjects found that overall, regular use of Facebook had a negative impact on an individual’s wellbeing.