Can Social Media Really Cause Depression?

New reports show how social media can alter your mental state.

If there is one thing that I am sure of today, is that you will use at least one social media platform before the end of the day. That’s how much social media has become important in our lives. Whether for business, pleasure or just to catch up with friends, there is more than a 70% chance that you use a social app every day.

Remarkably, even with our high level of social media use, there is a quite low amount of data to show how much this involvement can alter our lives and mental health. And the few data available doesn’t give very encouraging news either.

According to these few reports, the use of social media can be actively linked to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, hyperactivity and even insomnia. Mostly in the lives of adolescents and teenagers. Most of these reports, however, have no real scientific backing. They were more based on observation or deduction theories.

But a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology have proved that there is an actual causal link between social media use and its unwanted effects on mental health. In the words of one of the paper’s co-authors, Jordyn Young.

“If you use less social media, you are actually less depressed and less lonely, meaning that the decreased social media use is what cause that quantitative shift in your well being” – Jordyn Young.

According to the paper, this is the first time a scientific backup is given to the belief that social media can have negative effects on mental health.

You may wonder how a system originally designed to bring us closer to human interaction become so terrible for our mental health. Unfortunately, the answer to this is like my Facebook relationship status; it’s complicated. The only way I can try to explain this is that, logging on to social media; you immediately put yourself under some kind of social comparison – knowingly or unknowingly. Most times, even when we know that the content we see is fake, we are still placed under a little mental pressure. At that moment, you’d probably think to yourself “I’d never put up something fake like that” but mentally, what you are really saying is “I need to do better so I don’t put up something like that”.

What social media has given us is the ability to see what our friends/family are doing all the time, and that is not exactly a good thing. Fact is that social media can lead you into depression, especially when its use is frequent.

The only way to curb this issue is what you have already guessed. By reducing the time spent on social media. It would greatly help mentally – according to research, and minimize its unwanted effects like depression.



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