By Patrick Vergara

Coming from a generation that has grown up with technology, Gen Z consumers use social media in ways that benefit their mental health and overall lives. The Internet and social media have become a tool for self-expression, a creative outlet, and an open space. People can develop their understanding of a variety of topics and perspectives to help them better understand the world around them. They can find areas of interest and use the platforms in an educational capacity because there are so many ideas exchanged across various channels.

Primarily, social media is a platform for people to stay connected with friends and family, discover their interests, and meet new people. In today’s age, however, there are various paths in which individuals have utilized social media to build a better life for themselves. Most discovered ways to monetize their passion for content creation and took advantage of the opportunity to create their own content. By building an audience, they are able to gain influence within their community. Social media if used correctly by creating content can be a self-development tool. Creators must always seek more efficient ways to create content, develop ideation, and enhance their editing skills.

According to a Pew Research poll, when asked how much time they spend on social media in general, 55% of U.S. teens believe they spend the proper amount of time on social media apps and sites, while 36% say they spend too much time. Only 8% of teenagers say they spend a minimal amount of time on social media. When asked whether they would give up social media, 54% of teens said it would be somewhat difficult, while 46% think it would be relatively easy. Giving up social media would be a struggle for 58% of teens aged 15 to 17, as well as 48% of 13- and 14-year-olds (Vogels et. al, 2022).

Technology is interfering with the time individuals could be spending with other people or doing things that help with their developmental growth. Some of the negative effects that people may experience when consuming too much online content are inadequacy about their life or appearance, Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), isolation, depression, anxiety, cyberbullying, and unrealistic expectations. How does social media result in these negative effects? Social media enables you to view the positive highlights of everyone else’s lives, which you then contrast with the drawbacks in your own life. Social media has made it much simpler to compare yourself to other people, which results in anxiety and unhappiness.

Connecting with peers online is less emotionally gratifying than connecting in person. However, it is crucial to consider that it is possible that adolescents who are already lonely utilize social media more (Miller, 2022). Social media may also be detrimental to adolescent self-esteem. Exposure to numerous eye-catching photographs online may cause children to have a bad self-image. Self-esteem issues can contribute to depression.

Considering both sides of the coin with the effects of social media, social media needs to be controlled in one’s life. Social media is neither good nor bad. It is just a matter of how one uses this tool for the better or worse. Some tips in creating better habits with social media is putting a time limit on the platforms, preventing overconsumption and limiting screen time. It is critical for parents to monitor their children’s social media use and assist them in developing good habits. Parents should be on the lookout for indicators of depression and seek professional treatment if they are concerned. Checking on children who are under a lot of stress is extremely crucial because social media can be a form of escapism.

Never-ending content is being pushed out every day, which makes it seem like the information is endless. In my experience with social media, I have seen both positive and negative effects. Most of the time, I can get distracted and not even realize how much time I have spent consuming content. It is crucial that you control your social media habits, rather than letting social media control you. 

Mental Health Support

Norooz Clinic offers therapy services and support for depression, anxiety, self-esteem, body-image, eating disorders, and many other mental health conditions that affect your day-to-day lives. Please contact us today at (714) 386-9171 or info@noroozclinic.com to schedule an appointment. Our therapists speak English, Farsi, Tagalog and Spanish.

References

Miller, Caroline. “Does Social Media Use Cause Depression?” Child Mind Institute, 14 Apr. 2022, https://childmind.org/article/is-social-media-use-causing-depression/

Vogels, E. A., Gelles-Watnick, R., & Massarat, N. (2022, August 10). Teens, social media and technology 2022. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2022/08/10/teens-social-media-and-technology-2022/