Do social media cause depression? Have you read your friends’ posts on Facebook today? Have you posted photos of your pet on Instagram? Have you checked your social media ads? Or maybe he brought a Twitter link here.
It does not matter what you do with your phone or computer today, whatever it was, social media was probably involved.
Research shows that social networks such as Twitter and Instagram can greatly affect your mental health. In fact, using social media can be detrimental to your mental health, especially when you use it a lot.
Despite the popularity of new social media and the speed with which they have taken root in all aspects of our lives, little is known about how these media affect our personality, behavior, social relationships, and mental health.
In many cases, the information obtained in this regard, the results are not very satisfactory. Studies have linked social media use to depression, anxiety, poor sleep quality, low self-esteem, inattention, and hyperactivity. However, these studies are almost entirely observational or correlational, meaning that they do not determine whether one of these factors caused the other.
A common argument against the theory that social media causes more depression and loneliness is that people with more depression and loneliness may be more inclined to use social media as a way to connect with others. In the continuation of this article from Wironal, important points are presented that will make the answers to all the above questions clearer for you. Stay with us.
Do social media cause depression?
Recent studies show that there is in fact a causal relationship between social media use and its negative effects on mental health (primarily depression and loneliness). The full text of this study is published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.
“Overall, the bottom line is that if you use less social media, you actually feel less depressed and lonely, which means less social media use,” said Jordin Young, co-author and senior professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “It makes dramatic qualitative changes in your mental health.”
“Previously, all we could say was that there was a link between social media use and low levels of mental health,” said Young.
The researchers also said that this is the first time that scientific research has been used as a causal link in the field of social media studies.
The study was conducted on 143 students from the University of Pennsylvania. They were randomly assigned to one of two groups: those who normally followed their habits on social media and those whose access to social media was significantly restricted.
For three weeks, the second experimental group reduced their use of social media to 30 minutes per day, which included three 10-minute intervals on three different platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Snapshot).
To maintain the test conditions, the researchers looked at their cell phone usage data, which showed how long each app was used per day. In addition, all participants in the study had to use iPhones.
But why was the experimental group allowed to use social media?
“We did not think that avoiding social media altogether would be an accurate representation of the global landscape in which we live today,” said the researchers. “Different social media have surrounded us with great potential.”
The results were clear: the group that used less social media had much better mental health outcomes than the other group.
Psychological metrics were defined for participants at the beginning of the experiment in several different contexts: social support, fear of loss, loneliness, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, autonomy, and self-acceptance.
At the end of the experiment, people in the experimental group experienced a decrease in loneliness and depressive symptoms, and the most changes were related to those who reported more depression at the beginning of the experiment.
“It does not matter at what level of depression or loneliness you limit your use of social media, it is important that in any case, the symptoms of depression and loneliness subside within a few weeks,” Yang added.
At the same time, both groups saw reduced levels of anxiety and fear of loss, which researchers believe is potentially due to the fact that users simply become more aware of their use of social media by participating in this study.
But even with the cause-and-effect link, there is still a bigger, unanswered question: Why is this happening?
Our imaginary reality
How can systems designed to bring us closer to friends and family be detrimental to our mental health? Just like the algorithm that manages your Twitter timeline, the answer to this question is complex.
Some general theories are presented in this regard. For example, Dr. Oscar Yabarara, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, said, “What happens when you go on social media is that you get involved in a lot of social comparisons.” People are not necessarily aware of this, but it does happen. “You log in to your account, and you come across content with a very regular layout that has specific purposes.
Dr. Yabarara has published articles on Facebook and its impact on mental health. He has tried to explain the “why” of this relationship to himself.
He points out that even if people were aware of the nature of the “arranged and targeted content” of many social networks, they would still ask themselves, “How does this content affect me?” Or “How does looking at a few Instagram posts affect my life?” Based on what these people are saying, I think what is happening is that the more you use social media, the more social analogies you are instilled, and this reduces the burden of real human emotions and feelings.
These social comparisons happen on a regular basis, up to hundreds of times a day, depending on how many times you check your social networks a day.
Fumo disorder or fear of loss is another mental health problem that is strongly associated with the use of social media.
Social Media and Fomo Disorder or “Fear of Loss”
Fear of losing or FOMO disorder is another mental health disorder that is strongly associated with the use of social media.
Although the term is a relatively new term often attributed to teens born in the third millennium, psychologists believe it is of great social importance.
Dr. Amy Summerville, professor of psychology at the University of Miami in Ohio, specializes in issues of regret and psychological experience. “If…, then what could have happened?” Is.
He explains that FOMO disorder is a subset of larger issues such as inclusion and social status. “When our basic needs, such as food, shelter and water, are met, the need for social interaction becomes meaningful,” he says.
“The experience of Fomo disorder specifically includes the feeling that I personally could and could not be there. “I think part of the reason this symptom occurs is that we may not receive enough attention and a sense of connection from people with whom we have important social relationships.”
Today, the widespread use of social media and technology has created a world in which we can stare at our crystal ball to see what our friends are doing at almost any time of the day. And this is not necessarily a good thing.
So, should we all use social media less?
Perhaps. But both Dr. Yabara and Dr. Somerville believe that not enough research has been done to prescribe any guidelines.
“This study necessarily tells us that we should all install social network blockers on our phones,” Somerville said. “I think it can be useful, especially for people who are already struggling with negative emotions and feelings of belonging.”
What is clear, however, is that social media is not disappearing. It can be expected that this type of technology will probably only expand.
Games like (Pokémon Go) changed the social atmosphere associated with video games. Apps like (Strava) have created a social network where users can share their sports goals and fitness programs with others, and (LinkedIn) has gone from a job platform to a complete social network for employment-related issues.
He added: “Given how available these technologies are, they will change only part of how we interact with the world around us and how we relate to others. “There is definitely a lot of work to be done in this area.”
Using social media can be detrimental to your mental health, especially when you use it a lot.
Setting and adhering to certain restrictions can help you minimize these effects.