As a generation, some would argue that young people are more connected than ever due to social media. For some, sites such as Twitter and Instagram allow you to connect with friends and join a new community of people who share the same interests. However, for others, social media can have a significant impact on their mental health.
Social Media and Self-Esteem
Some young people when using social media are overly focussed on the number of likes and positive comments they get on their posts. They can create a link between the number of likes they receive and their value as a person. If they post something that doesn’t get enough likes, it can negatively affect their self-esteem.
Social Media and Sleep
For some, social media can affect their mental health in more indirect ways. For example, spending a lot of time on social media platforms at night can affect your sleep pattern and can ultimately result in long-term insomnia. This lack of sleep can also lead to issues with your ability to manage your daily life, which in turn can result in feelings of stress or anxiety.
Social Media and Cyberbullying
Before sites like Facebook and Twitter, young people would usually be able to escape episodes of bullying at school once they had returned home. Unfortunately, due to how connected young people’s lives have become due to social media, this bullying can often manifest onto social media as cyberbullying. Bullying itself can have multiple negative effects on mental health. When it’s inescapable it can lead to isolation and loneliness, and even depression and anxiety.
However, despite the negatives, there is a range of positives to using social media.
Relieves Social Isolation
As social media can be a great way of connecting people, it can allow young people to share their own stories and connect with those who may be going through similar issues. Many bloggers have accounts who share messages of body positivity and strategies to cope with mental health issues. These support networks can help young people feel that they are not alone and potentially relive feelings of isolation.
Reach for Help
There are many mental health awareness pages and campaigns that young people can reach through social media. These can enable young people to get the professional help they need or become more aware of the events and organisations they can reach to.
Like many things, social media are recommended to be used in moderation. If there are times where you feel overwhelmed or anxious, then take a break. For more information about mental health and for support, please visit Mind.