University Times

Social Media’s Adverse Effects

Research finds that long-term exposure to social media may have negative effects on mental health.

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Social Media’s Adverse Effects

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter serve as the top social media apps.

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter serve as the top social media apps.

J. Aaron Delgado

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter serve as the top social media apps.

J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter serve as the top social media apps.

Adriana Sanchez, Contributor

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Social media dominates our everyday lives. It is everywhere we go and it is, in large part, what we focus on for most of the day. From scrolling through photos on Instagram to catching up on the latest news on Twitter, spending time on social media can do a lot more than just pass time. 

As more research is conducted, evidence is now suggesting that social media can have extreme effects on mental health. A study conducted at the University of South Wales found that spending more than one hour a day on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have adverse effects on women’s self-esteem. The photos on these platforms typically highlight thin women in happy moments that are seemingly perfect. As a result, viewers often find themselves comparing their image to these photos. This leads to a negative impact on body image and self-esteem.

 Consequently, in an article on the Tech Times, Dr. Ramani Durvasula from the Psychology Department at Cal State LA noted that insecure women may use social media as an outlet to feel better about themselves. These women could be suffering from anxiety, depression or even eating disorders.

Professors at San Francisco State University (SFSU) further discovered that there is a strong link between smartphone dependency and anxious or depressive tendencies. Those who simply spend too much time on their smartphone may also find themselves suffering from symptoms of mental illness. 

Third-year anthropology student Brianna Aviles said, “I do think that people can be addicted to social media. We are affected daily, for instance when we’re bored, we scroll through stuff instead of doing something productive. We revolve everything on social media — we post all our life to get likes.”

The San Francisco State study suggested that when individuals slouch or lean over their phones, it causes the body to adapt to a position that it is usually put in when one is feeling hopeless or depressed. Further, it found that body posture could have an effect on one’s overall mood and that screen brightness can impact sleeping patterns. The study also suggested that people spend more time consuming media; consequently, they spend less time exercising and staying active. To counter this, they suggest engaging in more physical activity as it is proven to improve mood and combat depression.

 Nowadays, it seems as though everyone is on their phone; as a result, it is critical to understand the effects that social media has on individuals’ health. Connecting online is fun, but it is important to consider one’s mental well-being first. 

In addition to exercising and sitting up straight, SFSU’s Dr. Erik Peper recommends limiting notifications and phonetime in exchange for being present and connecting to people in real life. Taking a break from social media will ultimately allow for others to engage in real relationships and decrease loneliness. 

Taking these steps will allow for individuals to be more conscious of their screen time and understand the impact that social media may be having on their mindset.

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