With technology fast evolving every day, it’s no wonder why many people are glued to their smartphones.
Different social media platforms have since taken the world by storm and are used by everyone, no matter the age. Although using social media can provide us with a number of benefits, it also has its setbacks.
Research in 2017 has shown that there has been a significant increase in the number of children and young adults who use social media and reported symptoms of anxiety and major depression.
The data shows that there has been an increase on the report of 52% from 2005 to 2017 and a 63% increase by the years 2009 to 2017.
In this article, we will show you the different statistical data on the relation between social media and mental health.
We will discuss the growing concerns on the effects of social media on mental health, its effects on children and young adults, social media addiction, and solutions to the negativity of social media.
Concerns on the Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 49.5% of teenagers will experience any mental disorder over their lives, and 22.2% will experience severe mental disability.
In addition, young adults that are aged 18 to 25 had the highest rate of mental symptoms and illness of any adult and teens age group: 22.2%, compared to 25.8% for those between the ages of 26 to 49 and 13.8% for those aged 50 and over.
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2018 poll, the three most popular social media sites among teens are YouTube which garnered 85%, Instagram 72%, and SnapChat 69%.
According to a 2014-2015 teen study, the percentage of kids who use Facebook has decreased from 71% in 2014 to 51% in 2018.
From 2008 to 2017, the number of young adults who experienced psychological discomfort in a given month increased by 71%. Worse, the rate of young adults having suicidal thoughts climbed by 47% throughout the same period.
During the same time, there was no substantial increase in these mental health concerns among older persons.
Children and young adults are the ones that are most affected. This isn’t surprising given how frequently they use social media and how they grew up as digital natives. The numbers, on the other hand, are startling.
Social Media Effects on Children and Young Adults
From the same research that was done in 2017, more than one-third of US teens (38%) believe that using social media is bad. Only 5% believe it’s completely positive.
Research shows that between 2012 to 2015, there has been a 21% increase in depression among boys and a 50% increase in depression among girls.
In 2015, 92% of teenagers and young adults had a smartphone. However, as the usage of smartphones grew, so did depression.
According to a 2017 survey amongst 8th to 12th graders, there has been a rise of at least 33% levels of depression symptoms between 2010 and 2015. This age group’s suicide rate climbed by 65%. And this has gotten worse over time.
The patterns of social media usage in connection with child suicide rates have risen to 150%. Not only that, but self-harm on girls that are aged 10 to 14 has tripled over time.
Eighth-graders who spend more than 10 hours per week on social media are 56% more likely than those who spend less time on social media to be dissatisfied. Adolescents who spend more than 3 hours per day on social media are more likely to develop mental health issues.
In 12- to 17-year-olds 32% are anxious and 13% are depressed. Mental illness is reported by 25% of 18 to 25-year-olds. These age groups say they use social media a much.
Cyberbullying and online harassment were reported by 59% of US teenagers. 90% believe that this is a problem that other individuals their age are dealing with. 63% of respondents believe it is a big issue.
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2018 survey, one out of every six teenagers has encountered at least one of six types of online abuse:
- Spreading false news (32%)
- Activities and locations are tracked by someone, not their parent (21%)
- Name-calling (42%)
- Explicit images of them are shared without their consent (7%)
- Receiving unsolicited graphic images (25%)
- Receiving physical threats (16%)
However, the most recent Pew survey of teenagers’ use of technology and social media, which was also done in 2018, revealed new findings.
According to the survey, 90% of teens believe online harassment is a problem for people their age and 63% identify it as a “major problem.”
Only 24% of youth believe that social media has a typically negative impact, while 31% believe it has a favorable impact, and 45% believe it has neither a positive nor a negative impact.
Teens who believe social media has a negative impact say it contributes to rumor-mongering and bullying 27%, as well as harming and diminishing relationships 17%.
Only a minimum percentage of people, especially teens, believe that social media usage can “lead to a psychological disorder.”
Social Media Addiction
When people talk in person, they talk about themselves about 30%-40% of the time. People on social media spend 80% of their time talking about themselves.
As a result, they experience a pleasurable dopamine sensation when they hear positive feedback.
Positive feedback causes the release of dopamine in the brain. This reinforces the habit of utilizing social media by rewarding the behavior connected with it. The motivating characteristics of dopamine have a role in addiction.
According to surveys conducted in the United States and Europe in 2012, the regularity of Internet Addiction Disorder ranged from 1.5% to 8.2%.
This has now increased, which makes sense given the rising usage of social media. Between 5% and 10% of people in the United States fit the indicator for social media addiction.
Social Media Young Adults: Connection with Mental Health Conditions
Most people, young and old, can control their use and time of social media and prevent it from taking over their everyday lives.
However, 20% of those with at least one account on social media believe they need to check it at least once every two hours to be calm.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of social media anxiety disorder:
- Stopping mid-conversation to check social media
- Lying or not sure about the amount of time spent scrolling social media
- Spending at least six hours every day using social media
- Attempts to cut the time of use on social media have failed
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Experience withdrawal, nervousness, and anxiety symptoms when unable to use social media
- Losing interest in hobbies, work, or school
- Extreme desire to check on social media
Friend tallies, status updates, and pictures of friends having fun on Facebook all add to Facebook depression, making children with low self-images feel even worse.
Resources and Tips for Children and Teen for Social Media and Mental Health
Because of the steady rise in social media addiction, there has been a steady movement to educate many teens and young children on its time and usage. Here are some things to remember to have a healthy usage on social media:
● Set a Limit on the Use of Social Media
Spending less time on social media is maybe the single most effective approach for kids and adolescents to make sure that their use of the services has a positive influence on their life.
After three weeks, students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day felt decreased despair and loneliness, and the improvement in feeling good was greatest among students who initially reported “greater levels of depression.”
● Take Note of How Using Social Media Makes You Feel
Young people are prone to comparing themselves to those they communicate with on social media, yet this can be harmful to one’s self-esteem.
According to researchers, viewing the social media account of someone they thought was more attractive made undergraduate women feel worse about their own attractiveness.
The results were the same whether the ladies had a negative or positive evaluation of their attraction before viewing the page.
This “social comparison” displays itself in several ways on the internet, and it can have a negative influence on adolescent social media users.
Young people must think that social media makes things and people look nicer and more appealing than they are in real life to compensate for the natural temptation to compare themselves to the people they contact online.
● Avoid the Negativity Trap
Most teens fall for the negativity trap that social media entails. People who feel good tend to pose positive things about themselves whereas low self-esteem teens also tend to post negative material which then results in a negative loop of feedback.
● Do Not Look at Social Media as the Reality
Teens and young children must be taught that what they hear and see on social media is often a distorted perspective of events in the real world in order to control feelings of inadequacy or insecurity resulting from their social media activity.
Taking a break from social media, and even all online activity, should be days, not an hour or two, can help you avoid unwanted comparisons and escape from the negativity trap.
Social media has a big impact on young children, teens, adults, and even old people. When it comes to the use of social media, it’s important to set certain limitations to ensure that your mental health is not compromised.
Make sure to monitor the time and usage of your children and ensure that they don’t receive any harmful messages.