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Impact of Social Media on Quality of Life

Updated February 5, 2021
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Impact of Social Media on Quality of Life essay

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Introduction

Based on Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) from 32 million peoples in Malaysia, 24.5 million users which equals to 76.9% are using internet and 7.5 million which equals to 23.1%% do not have access to the internet (IAMK, 2017). This report show that the percentage of internet user had increased from 76.9% in 2016 to 87.4 in 2018 (MCMC, 2018). According to Hootsuite and We are social in the latest Digital 2019 report, the report show that Malaysia was ranked highest in Southeast Asia for mobile social media penetration (Bernama, 2019). This report show that there are 80% of Malaysia user spending a daily average of eight hours and five minutes online (NST, 2018).There are 93.1% internet user used smartphone to go online (NST, 2018). Meanwhile, the use of fixed and home-based devices such as smart TV, TV streaming box and game console saw a steady increase over the years (MCMC, 2018). According MCMC survey in 2018, a total of 32.7% of non-users mentioned that they just did not have enough time to use the Internet. Additionally, 32.0% attributed their unwillingness to go online to age – with 74.3% of them aged 60 and above. (MCMC, 2018)

According to MCMC (2018), Smartphone is the main medium on how Malaysia access the Internet. There are 89.4% (21.9 milllion peoples) access their smartphone, compared to other medium such as laptop, netbook and PC desktop. Furthermore, Social Media Stats Malaysia 2019 show that 75.97% was the highest rank for Facebook, follow by Twitter 8.09%, Pinterest 7.01%, Instagram 4.93%, YouTube 3.09% and Tumblr 0.53%. According to MCMC survey 2018, there are 96.3% which are 23.59 million of Malaysian use internet for text communication such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and so forth. Follow by 89.3% of internet users use to visit social networking sites. According to the research above, there are 97.3% of Malaysian Internet users do have at least a Facebook account. For Instagram, there are 13.74 million Instagram users in Malaysia, increase from 46.7% (2016) to 56.1% (2017).

Problem Statement

Social media has become a platform where people contact, develop and cultivate the relationship (Saodah, Shafizan , 2017). But most of social media are having negative effects on social life and well-being like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (Holsten, 2018). Social media can increase happiness and take care teenager social circle but social media can also potentially make them unhappy and more isolated (Holsten, 2018). This is depend on how well teenager utilize it (Glozah, 2013).

According to the Facebook statistic in Malaysia, Facebook gained more than 2 billion active users in monthly (Napoleon, 2018). Based on (Saima, Kamran,Muhammad, 2017) research, researcher found that teenagers who spent more times on Facebook and login times during a day can cause poor academic and lesser grades. Furthermore, Facebook can also cause abnormal symptoms toward teenagers such as excessive aggression, depression, abnormal anxiety (Hans, 2018). Teenagers will face emotional problems and very conscious of their self-esteem even social isolation. Teenagers will pretend to stay alone, lack of face to face contact or even reduce the interacting with peers and family members (Aungg, 2017).

Well-being is the experience of happiness, health, safety and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, sense of meaning or purpose and high satisfaction of life (Davis, 2019). First of all throughout the research, it brings out idea about social media impact toward well-being. Based on the research of The University of Sheffield 2018, social media can cause negative consequences such as stress, depression, low self-esteem and suicidal ideation (O’Reilly, Dogra, Whiteman, 2018). Besides, passive browsing or looking at the profiles, posts and photos of other can create feeling of loneliness, envy, sadness and exclusion.

Based on “Computer in human behavior research”, it show that Facebook use is associated with lower life satisfaction (Elmira, 2017). Users choose consume random pieces of content instead of only communicating with others (Bridianne, 2016). According to Amy’s research, researcher found that passively consuming information could not fulfill or satisfying user mood and it was a sharp decline in their mood after user scrolling thru Facebook (Amy, 2016). This is because user did not experience the same emotion decline when they surfed the internet (Amy, 2016).

Furthermore, these negative consequences such as stress, depression and low self-esteem would led to FOMO, the fear of missing out, in millennial-speak and it is more prevalent in those who spend the most time on social media (Williams, 2017). These negative mental health effects were more pronounced in noteless students who felt as if everyone was happier or better than they were (Christopher, 2016). Poor mental health may led to anger, anxiety, depression even the worst can be schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (Mind, 2013).These are the mental health problem that mainly affect people’s mood states. For instance manic or hypomanic episodes (feeling high), depression episodes (feeling low) and potentially some psychotic symptoms (Mind, 2013).

According to the National Sleep Foundation 2015, social media cause sleep problem by causing users to stay online due to emotional or cognitive arousal. Furthermore, depression cause sleep problems and it may led to depressive disorders. Besides, constantly checking on social media can be a sign of anxiety disorder. According to Sarah research, there are 20% of people with social media cannot go more than 3 hours without checking (Sarah, 2018). Based on the national sleep survey done by Nielsen Malaysia, the report show that there are 52% respondent faced sleep problem because of stress, anxiety and depression. Furthermore, there’s 25% of people are spending too much time on electronic gadgets such as laptop, telephone and Ipad (Chin, 2018).

Secondly, student’s stress are one of the negative consequence that cause by social media. Although college life is the most entertaining and unforgettable experiences for students, a closer perspective would indicate that college students encounter a number of challenges in their daily lives that contribute to stress and if not dealt with can only escalate and hamper their academic performance and emotional and social well-being (Lakyntiew, Angelyne,Joplin,MG Karjana, 2014). The experience of positive well-being and good interpersonal relationships is related to more creative thinking and good performance (Glozah, 2013). Poor psychological well-being and interpersonal relationships among university students proves the effect of low levels of psychological well-being and interpersonal relationships on students’ academic performance and future success (Amy, 2011).

According to the research from Karabuk University, Turkey (2017), social media has been accompanied by transformation, adaptation problems and serious psychological problems (Dogan, 2017). Individuals seek for psychological advices because of internet addiction can be classified under five main subjects such as cybersex, virtual relation, pressure of earning money from the internet, information overload and computer and game addiction. Addiction may lead to different consequences as social isolation, increasing depression, parental disaccord and divorce, academic failure, financial problem and job loss (Young, Pistner, O’mara, Buchanan, 2000). However, distressing themselves can cause them to be physically and mentally ill (Hughes, 2018). s. According to Hughes’s research, continuous highlight reel effect seen on friends Facebook pages can lead to nervousness and anxiety (Hughes, 2018).

This is obvious when they see their friends are having through their posts or stories shared which they might get envy and create stress to do better in life or purchasing fancy product (Elizabeth, 2019). Besides that, more likelihood for stress to be presented in social media is the pressure to illustrate themselves ideally (Sarah, 2018). Consciously or unconsciously, this pressure may be either way as it can cause people into getting on the latest trends with vogue, cosmetics and luxury items. (Aydogan , Ozan, 2017) These items can also cause financial stress to them as they may be spending a lot trying to catch up with the trendiest updates (Aydogan , Ozan, 2017)

According to the research of University Malaysia Sarawak, (Chin, 2018) found that academic stress can adversely affect both mental and physical well-being of students. A research by (Randall, 2000) indicated that high stress levels had not only interfered with students’ performance but also exposed mental health and physical health risk.

A theory to explain the situation is media dependency theory. Media dependency theory is a combination of several perspective such as psycho analytics, social system theory, systematic and casual approach and base elements from Uses and Gratification theory (Muszaphar, 2014). The limitation of media dependency theory is lacks of power in explaining in long term effect (Syallow, 2019).The theory only focus on how audiences are dependent on media during crisis or conflicts but it does not explained about how long is the effects take by audience (Syallow, 2019).

Too much dependent of social media can cause long term mental effect such as stress, depression and anxiety, FOMO (fear of missing out), mental and physical health such as lack of sleep (Zhukova, 2018). This is because of spending too much login hours and too dependent on social media. Therefore, this study aims to examine how social media can cause negative impacts towards teenagers nowadays and how seriousness of the impacts can affects teenagers’ well-being and behavior.

Research Objective

  • To explore the UTAR undergraduates’ perception on the impact of social media on their well-being.
  • To explore how social media influence people attitude and behavior on stress among UTAR undergraduates’
  • To explore how social media influence people attitude and behavior on depression among UTAR undergraduates’

Research Question

  • How was the perception on the impact of social media on their well-being towards UTAR undergraduates?
  • To explore how social media influence people attitude and behavior on stress among UTAR undergraduates’
  • To explore how social media influence people attitude and behavior on depression among UTAR undergraduates’

Theoretical significant

Media dependency theory is a systematic approach to study the effects of mass media on users and the bonding between media, users and social system (Lin, 2014). This study can help to enhance people’s understanding about media dependency theory from the perspective of the negative impact of social media. This study mainly focus on the seriousness of negative impact on social media and stress towards the well-being of people. This study hopes to expand the theory in media and technology field and provide a better understanding about the seriousness of dependency on social media to public.

Practical significant

This study can contribute to the construction of a better campaign which can educate public about the seriousness of the negative impact of dependency of social media and practice the best way to reduce stress from using social media. For instance, create a campaign that collaborate with Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s psychology society by helping student developing EQ, gain awareness of the using social media in the right way, and reconstruct their self-esteem and resilience and counselling session in campus.

Literature Review

Social Media

Social media is a platform that has been growing across the decade. Social media is refers to as websites and applications that are to allow people to share content quickly and efficiently (Boyd & Ellison, 2008). The ability to share photos, create content, opinions, events has changed the way we live life as it is very high and fast reaching (Kietzmann et al., 2011). Markerting strategies are also implied through social media and are channelled to people persuading them to purchase products . Be that as it may, social networking is a theme of debate today, many feel it’s a help yet there is a larger part who feels that it is a revile. For the most part individuals feel that social media life has obliterated human connection with a quick rate and has altered present day human connections (Subramaniam,2017). According, to statistics average number of an individual spends online is 72 hours a week.

This is high compared the amount of time invested on studying, physical activities or anything beneficial at all. It leaves less time for different things and consequently causes individual to face serious issues that emerge out of this like absence of capacity to focus, anxiety, stress, uneasiness and other health issues (Subramaniam,2017). Yet, its undeniable that social media has been a tool to enhance learning. It very well may be utilized to connect with numerous academician and can be a exceedingly viable too. There is a vast greater part of scholarly masterminds that vibe social media is a tool for students, however whenever utilized astutely it may very well may be exceptionally useful (Chris,2015) For example, university students uses social media as tool to conduct or participate in live lectures.

This makes it easy to exchange knowledge in a comfortable setting and saving their time and cost with reciprocity. Upon this, social media is now used to redicate to gain prevalence among individuals, the influence of social media allows individuals to branch off to creating huge social network audiences . They use this platforms to have a proclaimed or declared personality that is accepted by the society which slowly eradicate real social interaction with humankind. Preceding the innovation of social media, telephones were commonly used to have natural interaction with family and friends. Simply converse by voice which is now a void.

The negative impact increases by reducing the amount of socialinteraction or social interaction among individuals. Even though self identities are vastly important for interaction is now interdependent from social media (Ellison et al,2006). As self identity is are based on self awareness and feedbacks in regards, now they are solely based on latest trends or influencers on social media. Regardless of whether it is ‘the ideal self-perception’ or ‘the ideal character’ being impelled towards individuals, numerous individuals feel the absence of certainty or confidence which debases their self image. Individuals all in all isn’t seeing the inconvenient result of the contrary of social media has on people. Self identity is no longer perceived as self identity rather a character anticipated through the social media culture. Thus the drawback of this is huge as people fail in terms of expressing themselves and create a synthetic identity that affects their mental health towards the end ( Christakis,2009).

Thus, social media has various forms of effects on an individuals life. Eventhough the evolution of social media is about to grow bigger and believed and perceived to makes ones life easy and increase productivity, if the participants who is evolved failed to use it efficiently it will definitely bring him more harm than good . For here on, people must be aware of their usage of social media and have time limitation to benefit in whole and reduce the damage done to ones mental health.

Impact of Social Media on Well-Being

As we know that well-being is the experience of happiness, health, safety, as well as prosperity. Well-being include having good mental health, sense of meaning or high satisfaction of life (Davis, 2019). Well-being always measure by combination of some indicators, like life satisfaction, affect, depression as well as stress (Ahn, 2011). According to Verduyn et al. (2017), the types of social media use determine whether social media use increase or decrease well-being. Based on the journal “The Impact of Social Media on College Students” (2013), Henry’s exploratory study more than 1000 college students are examined by the impact of technology as well as specific aspects of psychosocial wellness, looking for correlations on variables. She found out that technologies activities dedicate to more positive of well-being. As an instance, chatting with others online, networking on social media site, and talking on mobile phone. Moreover, these are motivation for access social media for making new friends, meet new people, there were positive scores shown (Henry, 2010, 2012).

From the study of Henry, when students used social media for the purposes that solitary in nature, like surf the Internet, watch videos or playing computer games alone, those behaviours brings to lower scores on measures of well-being (Henry, 2010, 2012). She also found that students with less social motivations using social media, like delay or learning more about interest dedicated to less positive scores on the measure of well-being. The result shown when those students used social media seek support on personal issues as well as problems, those students are reported higher scores on measure of loneliness, depression and social anxiety. According to Gonzales and Hancock (2011), it illustrated that selective self-presentation using social media like Facebook could have a positive impact on self-esteem, particularly when individual choose to self-present by edit information about the self.

Besides that, there are association between use of social media and lower well-being. According to the journal “Social Network Sites and Well-Being: The Role of Social Connection” (2017), the research had determined the associate between the usage of social media and lower well-being. The framework recommend that negative consequences are more likely to result from the usage of social media when individuals deal with social media behaviours that does not fulfil needs for acceptance as well as belonging. The first of these traps is isolation. It might seem unfamiliar to be isolated on social media, the research support a link among Facebook use and loneliness (Song et al, 2014).

Lonely people would more drawn to mediated communication (Morahan-Martin & Schumacher, 2003) but social media can cause loneliness if they are used for “social snacking” or used it for temporary fulfilment of social needs (Gardner, Pickett & Knowles, 2005). As an instance, social media is authorize for many activities that make users feel social but not interactive, like lurking on strangers’ profiles (Carpenter, Green & LaFlam, 2011) or passively viewing Instagram feeds and story. These activities may cause users feel as if their immediate social needs have been fulfilled. But, those activities are fail to dedicate to interpersonal connection, resulting in a deficit in significance relational resources like social support (Green et al, 2005).

In addition, social comparison consider as pitfall of usage of social media. The repeat of self-comparison had been linked together with negative outcomes (White, Langer, Yariv & Welch, 2006), especially when comparison is superior than other (Tesser, Millar & Moore, 1988). As social media offers continuous opportunities for social comparison. When social media users compare their lived experiences with others curated self-presentations, they might feel their life are lacking and hence, they may suffer from depression (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).

Individuals who using social media more often or passively, like viewing others’ profile without interact with them, this may be the greatest risk among social comparison.

There are few studies that suggest negative links among usage of social media and well-being might mediated by social comparison. For instance, individuals who spend more time on Facebook and individuals who own more strangers as Facebook friends are more easily to feel others own better life than them (Chou & Edge, 2012). Throughout daily diary research, more time consume on Facebook associated with more social comparison, which was also associated with higher level of depression (Steers, Wickham & Acitelli, 2014).

Individuals who are more easily overall to compare themselves with others are both more enjoyable to use Facebook as well as suffer among lower self-esteem after Facebook use (Vogel, Rose, Okdie, Eckles & Franz, 2015). Based on Haferkamp and Kramer (2011), the comparison of oneself with superior others’ profile on social media could show in greater dissatisfaction through experimental work. In summary, individuals will open themselves to pitfalls of isolation as well as expose themselves toward social comparison when they use social media in a method that do not stimulate connection among interpersonal. This is important dangers toward well-being. Hence, university students should have awareness among the impact of social media towards well-being.

In agrument, social media will not escape from our life as well as it raising and integrable to university student lives. “There is no reason to think that social media could help university students to be healthier, happier as well as more capable people” (Boyd, 2014: 93) and hence, we need to find methods to utilize social media in a more positive mediums, and in methods that accelerate positive well-being, while better prepare university students to manage the probable dangerous impacts. Moreover, it seems university students must receive education about the meanings of mental health, well-being, and mental-illness, as well as mental illness and methods to avoid it or manage it if they are confirmed diagnosis with a condition.

Impact of Social Media on Stress

Social media enables us to communicate and interact with any one (regardless of where they are), be it family members, friends and office mates who can be everywhere. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and Instagram has greatly changed the way people communicate, socialize and interact around the world (Kietzmann et al., 2011; Xiang and Gretzel, 2010). Social media has become a great part of the daily lives of the masses which may lead to negative or positive impact on the users. The popularity of social media on the internet among the users will be a cause for concern (Kuss & Griffiths).

With the increased appeal of social media’s usage, it may lead to stress among the users. Stress is regarded as an emotional experience with predictable changes in biochemistry, physiology, and behaviour These physiological changes can be developed through the usage of social media, and there are many theories about how social media usage can lead to stress (Baum, 1990). Stress is a reaction mechanism that has evolved into a survival tool in humans, enabling us to quickly determine immediate threats.

However, chronic illnesses both physically and mentally can arise from long term stress experienced by users. Stress process consists of three elements: the internal state of the organism (strain), external events (stress sources), and the experience of transactions between people and the environment (Mason, 1975). Strains refer to physiological, emotional and cellular responses (Revathy, Aram & Sharmila, 2018). For example, emotional reactions include negative emotions, emotional numbness, and lower positive emotions. In order to understand how social media affects stress, it is important to understand what is stress.

Some theories showed that the use of social media can lead to physiological changes which may cause stress. There’s a possibility an individual may make comparison with the good and successful lives of her friends through posts on Facebook. This may affect her self-esteem and create pressure or stress on the individual to do more for her life. Another possible cause for stress in the use of social media is the pressure to portray the “ideal self”, whether conscious or unconscious, which may force people to follow the latest trends such as music, fashion, cars and even houses. Expenditure on these items will also put enormous economic pressure on individuals, which will lead to further pressure. In two studies by Duggan & Ellison (2014), on social comparisons on Facebook and the relevance of this phenomenon to depression, both studies have provided strong evidence to support the negative impact of social media on their users.

According to Lazarus and Folkman (1984), they define psychological stress as “a specific relationship between people, being assessed as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being”. Besides that, stress can be regarded as an environmental event or chronic condition that threatens the physical and/or mental health or well-being of an individual of a specific age in a certain society (Grant, 2003). Some researchers use external events as stress and exploit the experience generated by transactions between people and the environment as an arbitrating or mediating mechanism between stress and the first element, ie biological, physical or emotional consequences. Similarly, the combination of external life events was used as operational definitions of stress (Zhang, 2013).

An example of the impact of social media on the mental health of a user was the news report The Star (2019, May 16) titled ‘Teen suicide brings social media usage and mental health into sharp focus’, it was stated that a teenage girl from Sarawak had uploaded a post on her Instagram with the title “Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L” (D and L means “die” and “live”) to decide whether she should live or die by her followers. Since 69% of the followers encouraged her to die, she reportedly jumped to her death on Monday (May 13, 2019). The news reports about her death sparked shockwaves across the country, as politicians and social activists expressed concern about the stress experienced by young people and the impact of social media towards their mental well-being.

On the other hand, social media can be used as a mean to overcome stress and depression among women (Revathy, Aram, & Sharmila, 2018). The usage of social media has enabled people especially women to communicate and share information about stress and depression as well as physical and mental health. Through this interactive platform, women including pregnant and elderly women could discuss and share their health (mental and physical) and other related problems with each other. Therefore, social media can also help to overcome stress and depression in this case.

In opinion, social media had become an important part of our daily lives including teenagers and students. If users of social media such as university students do not use the social media wisely especially if they are not mentally and emotionally strong, then it can cause stress in their in their daily lives. Therefore, university students must be wise and cautious in the usage of social media in order to reduce the negative impacts of social media on their mental health and well-being.

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