Frequent Exposure to Social Media Can Trigger Bouts of Depression

From the invention of personal computers, industrial robots, computer-generated imagery (CGI) in films and video games, electronic music, to the digitalization of stock markets, the world has significantly moved to an altogether different era with these huge steps toward the age of information. These developments aimed at the betterment of humankind have undoubtedly redefined the way of living and global communications by overcoming the hurdles related to time, speed and distance.

One of such marvelous discoveries and inventions has been the foray of social networking platforms across the world. Social networking sites (SNSs) are comparatively a new addition to an array of incredible offerings of the digital era that has significantly made an already shrinking world even smaller by connecting people located across great distances. Besides shortening the distance between people, such platforms assist in rekindling old friendships.

Like every new thing, even SNSs come with a number of boons and banes. The price of embracing and adjusting to a technology-driven community has caused ripples in humankind’s collective psyche that is ill-equipped to handle these new advancements. The absence of human contact and increased dependence on the virtual world inflict a number of repercussions.

Children born today enter a world where the ubiquitous barrage of advertisements and notifications impact their mental health in myriad ways. The need to stay connected and the fear of missing out has elevated the importance of smartphones to that of the good book by the bed.

Effects of constant handling of numerous profiles

The advent and the negative effects of social media use among young kids and teens have been well-documented. In 2015, a report by the Pew Research Center highlighted that 92 percent of the American teens go online daily, with 24 percent being online constantly. While many “experts” contest the existence of the phenomena of Internet addiction or social media addiction, there is good evidence to prove them wrong.

In fact, the new age phenomenon of “Facebook addiction disorder” may potentially be a real thing because it meets all criteria for addiction, such as neglect of personal life, mental obsession, escapism, feel-good experiences, tolerance, concealing the addictive behavior, etc. In addition, it also meets the criterion for withdrawal by inflicting a range of psychological symptoms that are witnessed upon the cessation of social media use for a few days.

In fact, a 2016 study found that individuals who use multiple SNSs, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., are more likely to multitask that can cause cognitive-behavioral problems, such as frequently switching between SNSs on multiple devices leads to a poor level of attention, concentration, mood, memory, etc. The study illustrates that this increases the risk of anxiety and creates more opportunity to commit a gaffe or faux pas that can adversely impact a person’s mental health.

SNSs up depressive symptoms in teens

Many teenagers may be genetically prone to developing mental disorders like depression, but spending major time of their daily life on SNSs also further compounds this risk. Being harassed or bullied online can aggravate any underlying symptoms of depression. These factors also increase the risks of suicide among adolescents, which is the third leading cause of death in the age group 15 to 19 years. According to the American College Health Association, the rates of suicide in the age group of 15 to 24 has almost tripled since the 1950s.

Being constantly hooked on to SNSs may also lead to the trap of comparing oneself with the artificial and edited happiness posted by others on their virtual platform. Adolescents may unconsciously compare and judge themselves if they are better or worse off against what they see online.

There is also strong evidence that social media exposure has the propensity to make a person green with envy that shares a strong link with depression. SNSs can also become a breeding ground for jealousy that can develop into a virtual cycle because it can force a person to alter his or her life to become more socially presentable. In the bid to look more presentable and have more “likes,” one is likely to update such posts that can make others more jealous.

Spending time on SNSs has been linked to comparatively less happiness and less satisfaction because it has the potential to perpetuate the perception of social isolation. While SNSs provide a platform for real-time connectivity, it does not address the issue of isolation that has become so prevalent in the society. Perceived social isolation can be debilitating both mentally and physically that increases the risk of depression among adolescents.

Dealing with depression

Adolescents who spend a lot of time online run the risk of adversely affecting their mental health. Many of the posts updated by the users contain attractive images purposefully edited to idealize their life. The exalted version of one’s accomplishments can trigger a number of negative feelings that are not good for mental health. Such habits can cause a range of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, etc.

If you or your loved one is battling depression, it is imperative to seek help. The Florida Depression Helpline assists in accessing the finest depression centers in Florida that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866–267–5177 to know more about the rehabilitation centers in Florida.