Don’t fall victim to this silent killer.
At this point, it comes to no surprise that social media sites are adversely affecting your mental well-being. The constant need for “likes” and validation, thinking that your “friends” have a better life than you, and the time wasted away from real life – all this combined is a recipe for social media depression.
Social media is actually not very social at all, at least from a humanistic standpoint. Think about it: The interactions are so superficial and numbers-based that it falls very short of genuine interaction with others. We are now limited to communicating through this new technological medium that lacks that personal touch we all innately need. Have you noticed that friends or acquaintances don’t just walk up your door without calling you first? If they actually did that, you they would be put on the “talk of the town” list for being so peculiar. Social media has ironically made us less social and less inclined to have that interpersonal connection.
In a study from Computers in Human Behavior, people who used at least 7 social media platforms were three times more likely to develop depression or anxiety, compared with those who use 2 or less. These results remained consistent when adjusted for factors such as, age, gender, education, and income.
Another reason for the relationship between social media usage and depression is the constant multitasking. Multitasking, especially by switching between at least 7 different social media platforms, can lead to poor attention, cognition and mood. The more social media accounts we have can essentially do more damage than just having one.
Aside from the constant multitasking, self-comparison on social media is greatly linked to depression. Everyone on social media wants to look good, so they are going to post only the highlights of their “wonderful” life. The problem with individuals who are prone to depression is their inability to view the posts objectively. Maybe those who posts all the great things going on in their life, be it a job, house, relationship, or traveling are not really happy at all. People want to put their best face forward. Maybe they’re are very miserable in real life. You never know.
Individuals who pre-existingly have depression or anxiety use these mediums to feel more accepted and meet other people. Unbeknownst to them, this actually enhances the problem even more. Multitasking becomes a daunting task by keeping up with all the platforms, and forming real relationships becomes difficult.
The best way to combat social media depression is to cut it cold turkey. Since it is nearly impossible to cut it out in this technological pervasive world, the best way to reduce the likelihood of it causing depression is to manage the time spent on it. Better yet, reduce the number of accounts. It is best to cut social media depression at the source, and although it does take a lot of willpower and determination, it will fare well in the long run.