By: Sukhman Rekhi
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter–you name it and it’s there. Do you even remember the last time you sent letters through the mail or waited at the door for your daily newspaper to arrive? If you answered no, don’t worry; you’re not alone. In fact, one study found that 81% of teenagers and young adults are active on social media daily . Whether frequent use of social networking is beneficial or not, you can be the judge.
There’s no question that social networking has become prevalent, especially among millennials (individuals born between 1980 and 1995) and Generation Z (individuals born between 1996 and 2010), as compared to older demographics. But have you ever wondered why? Unlike our parents or grandparents, we grew up in an era of technology, so naturally it became more convenient for us to communicate with one another without the hassle of face-to-face communication . Why spend so many hours on the phone trying to contact your whole social group when you can click an app and learn about their whole day in a matter of seconds? Not only does social media provide the advantage of fast interaction, but it also assists in accessing news, finding romantic relationships or even landing a job–right at your fingertips .
However, not all that glitters is gold. Recent studies have shown that increased usage of social media may have a high correlation to depression, anxiety and other mental health problems . The reason is because social networks provide the outlet for individuals to share filtered versions of their lives as they please – whether it be through posts, pictures or videos – often leaving their followers feelings of envy, low self esteem, isolation and the fear of missing out . These media outlets give us the opportunity to put on a façade and show off the glitzy and glamorous details of our lives, forcing us to hide our real selves behind a mask, thus contributing to poor mental health for individuals constantly spending their free time online.
Even so, because the rise of technology is far too dominant within this generation of young adults, getting rid of social media is unrealistic. As an alternative, some mental health professionals suggest using social networks as an asset to advertise psychological services or mental health campaigns . Others believe that taking a break from electronic devices and social networks can reduce rates of addiction and depression, while promoting a healthy lifestyle and encouraging young people to step back and see the world and its people in their truest form . While we may not be able to completely escape the comfort and ease of technology, maybe it’s true what they say: everything is good in moderation.
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