Social media has been a huge part of our life today. We often check our phones daily as we wake up every morning, and it is our phones which are our last companions before we sleep. As we are in the pandemic today, it is not new that our phones are the most important to us. Social media helps us maintain our relationships with others online despite the implemented restrictions and quarantines. Through social media, we were able to seek companionship from others and strengthen our connection to others that affects one’s happiness and mental health. As we become virtually connected to our loved ones, family, and friends that are away, it can boost our emotions and ease stress, anxiety, depression, and boosts self-worth.
We rely on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to feel socially connected and entertained. Through social media, we can communicate to our loved ones around the world up to date. Since we all know any OFW who spends their time working abroad to provide for the needs of their family. Social media applications are now easier to communicate and talk to loved ones to avoid loneliness and sadness. We were also able to find new online friends with whom we could share similar interests. Lenhart (2015) shows that 64% of teens made new friends through social media and spent time with them. It is also seen that through social media, it is easier to seek emotional support during hardships and raise awareness on different issues.
However, despite the positive aspects of using social media, a negative aspect may arise if it is overused and has already dominated our lives. Multiple studies show that frequent social media use is linked to anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-harm, and suicidal ideations. It causes insecurities as we see updates from people we know about highlights of their lives. A Huffington poll (2018) found out that 60% of people who use social media reported having a negative impact on their self-esteem. It is also relevant that social media also becomes a platform for cyberbullying wherein any type of harassment, threatening, and demeaning language possess embarrassing people online. According to Djuraskovic (2021), 7 in 10 young people experienced cyberbullying before they hit 18 years old. US students also shared common types of online harassment: the mean comments with 22.5%, Online Rumors with 20.1%, and Sexual remarks with 12.1%. The overuse of social media also causes anxiety and depression. It is still essential to have face-to-face contact to maintain our mental health healthy. Through this, stress level reduces and even boost our mood faster and effectively communicates through eye-to-eye contact. Through this, prioritizing social media interaction over face-to-face may result in anxiety and depression.
The University of Pennsylvania (2018) study found out that the significant reduction of social media for 30 minutes daily can also reduce different mental health concerns such as sleep problems, fear of missing out, anxiety, and depression. Social media detox is essential to individuals who are overly exposed to different social media applications. This social media detox is defined as “the elimination of the use of social media for a period of time.” A study shows that low spending time on social media use is associated with better mental health. Another study indicates that overuse of social media and digital devices affects sleep routines. Through social media detox, no matter what period, either days, weeks, or a month, can be beneficial to mental health as it provides rest to the way we see things and reconnect to the real world that will boost our healthy well-being.
Djuraskovic, O. (2021, January 2). Cyberbullying Statistics, Facts and Trends (2021) with Charts. FirstSiteGuide. https://firstsiteguide.com/cyberbullying-stats/.
Ignite Teen Treatment. (2021, April 13). The importance of social media detox. Ignite Teen Treatment. https://igniteteentreatment.com/the-importance-of-social-media-detox/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CA%20social%20media%20detox%20is,%2Dlong%20social%20media%20detox.%E2%80%9D&text=Too%20much%20social%20media%20can%20be%20toxic%20and%20depressing.
Lenhart, A. (2019, December 31). Social media and teen Friendships. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/08/06/chapter-4-social-media-and-friendships/.
Robinson L., Smith M., (2021, July 22). Social Media and Mental Health. HelpGuide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm