How Does Social Media Lead To Depression?

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At this very moment, social media is being utilized by millions of people, all around the world. Whether it be for business, communicating, or entertainment, everyone uses it all the time, and it has become a part of everyday life. From spending five minutes to five hours on apps such as Instagram and iMessage, everyone at one point has used it to come in contact with someone. As a society, we have been very fortunate to have come very far in technology. Unfortunately, there is a downside to having so much access to the internet, and could even be potentially dangerous to one’s mental health. Spending an excessive amount of time on social medias such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook makes some feel the need to compare themselves to the others that also use the same apps. Several studies show that the use of social media platforms is more strongly associated with depression among young adults and teenagers.

Unsurprisingly, an increase of reported depression prevailed during the period of time where cellphones were becoming extremely popular. This was especially in the 1990’s, when the smartphones in that time resembled a large walkie-talkie shape. The first cell phone was created decades before, but they rose to popularity specifically in this era. These new phones became an instant need to the common people; communicating with someone was never so easy. Of course, it was nearly impossible to know what kind of technology would be possible in the next twenty years, but it is safe to say that no one knew it would advance to this level. This means that not one person knew all of the consequences of becoming so dependent on these seemingly harmless and new devices. There were many negative aspects to these phones, but it’s probable that people did not care, nor think about what might result from the explosion of new technology.

In addition, the cost of these new phones became very affordable to the public. The models of the “modern” cell phone in the 1980’s had an antenna, only had the ability to call someone, and were extremely large compared to a phone in 2018. They were very inconvenient to travel with or to bring them anywhere in general. Years later, the technology of the phone advanced greatly and this resulted in an explosion of thousands of people buying these brand new mobile devices in the 1990’s and late 2000’s. These smartphones had new features, and the majority of them are used rather than the original reason as to why it was created, which was to make calls. Due to all of the newer and convenient elements, there are more people browsing the internet, taking pictures, checking emails, and updating a status on social media.

For a very long time, updating a status on Facebook was something that millions of people did weekly, and some, even daily. Facebook, created by a Harvard student, Mark Zuckerberg, was created for anyone who wanted to stay connected to friends and family all across the world. It enabled one to post updates, pictures, messages, and whatever else one may want to post on their page. This started off as a very smart idea, but soon enough, it reached the younger generations, which included countless teenagers searching for attention online. This was especially in the late 2000’s, while every teenager was on their old, barely functioning computer, posting whatever they pleased on their social media pages, including Facebook. It very quickly became the new trend to consistently update a status, and post things, such as pictures of oneself and their friends.

Unfortunately, since these teens could post whatever they want, many of them chose to be mean to their peers and even post rude comments on one of their posts. This is an example of one of the worst concepts to come out of social media; cyberbullying. Thousands of cases of it occur everyday, and even more go unreported. At one point, Facebook was named the worst social media to be on, solely because of the amount of bullying occurring on the site. This led to Facebook creating a hub on their website where teens, parents, and educators could look at ways on how to manage, prevent, and stop bullying. In the recent years, Instagram and Snapchat have been named even worse than Facebook, in terms of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is one of the largest forms of bullying, and unfortunately, it could lead to anxiety, depression, and in more extreme cases, suicide. Sadly, it is becoming increasingly common, and the rate of depression in teens and young adults continues to rise everyday. Although there are different types of bullying, such as physical and verbal, this kind can potentially be the most harmful. In the article, “Depression high among youth victims of school cyberbullying, NIH researchers report”, it states that, “Victims of cyberbullying scored higher for feelings of depression than did bully-victims, a finding not seen with any other category of bullying,”(Bock 1). In addition, those who have been bullied in their childhood, are more likely to be diagnosed with depression in adulthood. Sadly, in recent years, more teenagers use more social media than teenagers in the 1990’s and 2000’s. This results in an increase of depression in younger ages. Essentially, seeing that there are so many negatives about cyberbullying while at a young age, one may be able to tell why so many studies and research is put into such a complex and relative issue.

The impossible thing about social media is that anyone can post anything that they want. It could be positive things that cause no harm to anyone, or it could be something hurtful to someone. Since there is no way of controlling what someone else can post, cyberbullying is a form of harassment that will not be going away anytime soon. Especially with the amount of technology that everyone uses everyday, there is not an easy way to get rid of such a huge issue today.

Furthermore, another reason how social media leads to depression is how much their social skills fade away. All of the time spent on mobile devices and the internet leaves the majority of the world extremely vulnerable to a variety of mental illnesses, such as onset depression. This is more of a problem for people who rely on social media to stay connected with the world, such as teenagers. Teenagers are often dependent on social media to stay in contact with their friends, and as a result, they may not have the necessary and most importantly, real, interactions with others. This isolation prevents teenagers from learning the essential social skills that they need to flourish in the real world. Social isolation is one of the main factors that determines if one may have depression, and can worsen it greatly.

Depression and social media have been strongly correlated for as long as social media has been around. Cyberbullying is one of the main reasons why it causes it, but the effects it has on the victim can be devastating and life-changing. Another factor that could lead to depression is the personal need to fit in with peers. One may feel pressure to get a certain amount of likes and comments on their post, or that they need to fulfill the standard that social media has given, and post “attractive”and “positive”, things about themself online. Also, one may see a group of their friends without them, and it makes them wonder why they were left out.

Therefore, those who already suffer from a mental health illness such as depression, are even more vulnerable to the negative effect social media can have. As stated earlier, there are a number of positives to having the ability to look at anything one could possibly want online. Although, when going through a rough time, it is not a logical idea to do so, and many studies prove this point. Going through the endless feed posted by peers does nothing but force yourself to compare yourself to them. Even worse, the content posted by them is probably tampered with and altered to make themselves look “better”, per se. People tend to make themselves look better off and more put together than they actually are on social media, and those who fail to realize this, are those who can’t recognize that it isn’t he person’s real life. Unfortunately, society has set nearly an impossible standard to follow, and it continually reminds those involved with social media that they are in some way different. Using common sense and logic, no one wants or prefers to be the odd one out in anything, and that follows into “fitting in with peers”. This results in an endless circle comparing oneself with others, wondering why the features and attributes they have are not perceived as equal as their peers.

In addition, the negative effects of social media continue to pile onto those who choose to use it daily. According to the article, “How Social Networks Like Instagram Could Help Identify When Someone is Depressed”, the author says, “If you spend most of your time scrolling through your newsfeed checking out other people’s lives and compare them to your own, you become more at risk of developing (or having worsening) symptoms of depression or anxiety. This is especially so in those with low self esteem,”(Dodgson 2).

This is seemingly obvious, since it is common sense that those with self esteem can’t help but compare themselves to others. One may perceive themself much different than another would, and that is one of the reasons thousands of young adults are diagnosed with mental illnesses like depression. Sadly, countless amounts of teenagers, significantly higher than adults, are simply more at risk for having depression because of their genetics. Even worse, two-thirds of teens who have major depression also have anxiety, antisocial behaviors, and a mood disorder called dysthymia.

In addition, social media has become such an issue to mental health that it is even labeled as a behavioral addiction. This is according to Julia M. Hormes, in which she wrote in an article, “Excessive use of social networking sites (SNS) has recently been conceptualized as a behavioral addiction (i.e., “disordered SNS use”) using key criteria for the diagnosis of substance dependence and shown to be associated with a variety of impairments in psychosocial functioning…”(1). It even increases the risk for alcoholism, as stated in the article. All of these disorders go hand in hand, and once one of them is obtained, it’s especially important to not let oneself fall into a downward spiral of mental illnesses. Even worse, these mental illness could be turned into physical illnesses as well. In extreme cases, these disorders could potentially lead to death. Clearly, social media has created a more of a negative effect on our society rather than positive.

In summary, there are a number of factors that have been proven how social media could lead to depression. From cyberbullying to the pressure of fitting in, social media has played a critical role when mental health is involved. There is no way of stopping all of these technological advancements, and they are only going to keep growing. All in all, through many studies, social media has said to possibly lead to mental illnesses, including depression.


Cite this paper

How Does Social Media Lead To Depression?. (2022, Mar 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/how-does-social-media-lead-to-depression/

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