Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram help us connect people worldwide, and this is no small benefit. But are they taking a toll on your mental health?
A new study by researchers at the University of Glasgow indicates that the need to be constantly available all the time on social media or social media addiction slashes down sleep quality and causes depression, anxiety Disorder in teenagers.
AdvertisementThe study has recently been presented at the British Psychological Society conference held in Manchester.
The study was led by Dr. Heather Cleland Woods and Holly Scott at the University and it involved as many as 467 teenagers. The researchers asked the participants certain questions regarding their overall and night-time specific social media use. A further set of tests analyzed the teenagers' sleep quality, self-esteem, anxiety, depression and emotional investment in social media. The tests were enough to dig into the mental pressure felt by the participants to be available 24/7.
"Adolescence can be a period of increased vulnerability to the onset of depression and anxiety, and poor sleep quality may contribute to this. It is important that we understand how social media use relate to these. The evidence is increasingly supporting a link between social media use and wellbeing, particularly during adolescence, but the causes of this are unclear," said Dr. Woods.
Results showed that being an active member of social media especially during the night time was linked to lower sleep quality, poorer self-esteem, and higher anxiety and depression levels.
"While overall social media use impacts on sleep quality, those who log on at night appear to be particularly affected. This may be mostly true of individuals who are highly emotionally invested. This means we have to think about how our kids use social media in relation to the time for switching off," Dr. Woods added.
The study suggests that people understand their personal reasons for using social media. People should evaluate whether or not their use of social networking sites is helping or hampering our sense of connection to others, as well as our overall mental and emotional health.
Facebook Bad for Mental Health!
A recent research published in the journal, Computers in Human Behavior focuses particularly on the most famous and used social networking, Facebook. According to the study, giving too much importance to your friends' updates on Facebook could be bad for your mental health.
Researchers from the University of Missouri found that heavy activities with the social media website may make certain people envious of other's happiness, which in turn could lead to anxiety depression.
"We found that if Facebook users experience envy of the activities and lifestyles of their friends on Facebook, they are much more likely to report feelings of depression. Facebook can be a very positive resource for many people, but if it is used as a way to size up one's accomplishments against others, it can have a negative effect," said study co-author Dr. Margaret Duffy, a journalism professor at the University.
The study analyzed the Facebook use of as many as 736 college students from Midwestern University, a non-profit graduate school specializing in health sciences education in the United States. The participants used Facebook for an average of two hours every day. About 78% students were identified as white Americans and 68% as female. Their average age was 19.
The researchers found that the students compared their lives to friends' photos of luxurious holidays, status updates about happy life changes and so on.
5 Tips to Control Social Media Addiction
1. Turn off notifications
Social networking sites depend on you to make the profit. They need your attention too, so they send notifications to your computers, phones or tablets. The notification system has both advantages and disadvantages. But if you want to limit your social media activities, say no to notifications appearing on your gadgets.
2. Take a day off from social media
I know this is hard but try it. Choose a day where logging into your social media accounts is not an option every week. If you could take a day off from the Internet, that would also be great.
3. Do a cull
According to studies, more than 50% of your social media contacts are of no relevance to your current and future life. So, consider deleting unnecessary contacts from your accounts. Also, create your method for accepting new friends such as "Will I learn something from this person?" or "Will this person benefit me now or in the future?"
4. Limit your online time
Create a daily schedule for your social media activities. Write down in your diary that I will spend only this much time on social networking sites and follow them. You can also create a time schedule for interaction, status updating and writing on the walls.
5. Use your time effectively
This might sound a bit weird, but it is effective. Know who you'd want to interact with and what you'd like to gain before logging into a social media site. You can make the wish list before you log in. After all, why would you go online with no clue as to what you're trying to achieve and communicate?