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.
The 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
"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
in relation to the time for switching off," Dr. Woods
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.
Bad for Mental Health!
A recent research published in the journal, Computers in Human Behavior
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
"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
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
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?