Social Media’s Mental Health Effects

Cat Gonzales, Editor In Chief

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Social media is in many people’s everyday lives. It is a modern invention that is meant to make people feel connected to each other. Originally created with good intention.

¨It’s great for students to be able  to connect easily to our high school for example, by using the hashtag #bvillebruWIN,” school counselor Crestley Tyree said.

Although, like anything else, it can have a variety of effects on people that overuse it.

“Social media usage has definitely affected students, in both positive and negative ways,” Tyree said.

Social media’s algorithms tend to show people doing what seems to be interesting things. The interesting lives of other people can lead users down a rabbit hole.

“I could feel that I wasn’t as focused on what I needed to be doing, I was more interested in what other people were doing; and I noticed that my self-esteem had been going down,” senior Daniela Ferguson said.

The desire to see other people’s lives and the fear of missing out is so widely felt that many use the recently coined term “FOMO”. The fear of missing out can push users to scroll endlessly and make

“It’s also really difficult for students to not pay attention to social media,” Tyree said. “It’s a huge distraction and time waster, but the “fear of missing out” and lack of self-control is too overpowering.”

People’s fear of not having as exciting of a life as others on social media tend to not think about the true life behind the photos. People fall into the habit of comparing themselves to unrealistic ideas.

“Too often people are not real on social media, images are photoshopped and people only show their own personal “highlight reel” of their life,” behavioral health professional Laura Fox said.

Social media also allows more social connections which inevitably lead to bullying and harassment Cyber bullying is common mainly because offenders can hide behind a screen and not care about the impact on others.

“About once a week I have a group of students in my office showing me Snapchat or Instagram posts by other students who are usually cyber bullying or indirectly name-calling another student,” Tyree said.

While many may find social media harmless, people who restrict screen time often see benefits. Living without constant comparison and possible harassment can reduce negative thought processes.

“Cutting social media usage made me feel lighter,” Ferguson said. “I stopped constantly worrying about what everyone else was doing over time, and I found myself more relaxed.”

People do not need to completely cut social media out of their lives. Reducing the amount of time looking at apps like Instagram will still show some positive changes.

“Social media is fine in moderation,” Tyree said. “It’s a great vehicle for getting the word out and accessing information, but people who are on it all the time and have a large following are usually the type of people least in touch with reality.

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