Social media is far from social. Although it is used to connect with friends, family and even strangers, use of social media is associated with feelings of social isolation. A study conducted by Brian Primack from the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh shows unsurprising results. Primack’s study displays that people who spend over two hours a day on social media had twice the odds of perceived social isolation and depression than those who spent less than a half hour per day on the same sites. In addition to mental health risks, overexposure to social media decreases our developmental, cognitive, and social abilities. These risks found by studies are widely known about, so why is social media still so appealing?
Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter offer a distorted look into people’s lives. More often than not, users strategically post images and status updates to enhance the reality of their everyday life. For example, ordering a coffee is a normal behavior for many young adults; however, with the right angle, location and filter, it can make your average morning coffee-run look more glamorous than everyone else’s. Users get so caught up in what they, as individuals, and other people are posting that actual face-to-face connections become less important than the validation social media provides. Although we are inherently social creatures, social media often drags us away from social environments and further fills said social void, but presents serious mental health risks.
Social networks allow individuals to amplify their thoughts and feelings through the internet for anyone and everyone to see. The ability to stay in touch with people’s lives by simply clicking on their profile substitutes for the time spent in the presence of one another. People’s social media profiles are becoming more interesting than the actual people who run them and due to this, social skills are drastically falling while feelings of isolation are skyrocketing. While social media can be a positive way to interact with individuals, it has caused antisocial behavior to become a social norm in today’s day and age.