Now, I love Twitter and Instagram just as much as the next person. I love sending my friends funny animal videos or reposting memes. We all do, I am, how else are we supposed to stay connected to our old friends from high school? I mean, hey, I've met some amazing people on social media and I love seeing their posts on Instagram or Facebook. But, we don't all feel this positive energy from social media.
Today's generation has almost made social media a staple. It's almost like everyone these days has a Snapchat or Instagram or Facebook or some kind of media to connect on. We all share videos, send messages, and post on our feeds daily. We follow celebrities and people we like, or maybe, people we want to be like or look like. We've all seen the Instagram models who workout six days a week and have fantastic bodies and look so good in all their pictures, or the celebrity couples with the iconic family photos and the cutest babies we've ever seen. But, we see all these happy pictures, yet some of us aren't as happy as we perceive on social media platforms.
According to Child Mind Institute, young adults and teens on social media more often, are showing higher rates of depression than those who spend less time on their social platforms. This isn't that surprising, just based on the fact that nine out of ten times I go on my Instagram or Twitter, there's all these super fit and cute girls overthrowing my feed and timeline! Personally, it doesn't bother me, but this can cause some bad confidence issues for some boys and girls. Boys can get this idea that they need a six pack of abs or muscular arms to be attractive, while young girls are seeing images of these slim models who are applying almost unrealistic body images, representing these companies who advertise "weight loss tea" or "weight loss pills" or crazy workout gear that's supposed to, "vibrate your fat off and slim you down", but that's not how weight loss works. Young girls and boys are given these unrealistic expectations for themselves and that's not even the only problem with social media and this generation today. Cyberbullying is also a big issue, from things like how people look to things they make repost or post about. Young adults and children are shamed and made fun of for sharing their interests, which isn't right.
Sage Journals states that in a study they performed, they came to the conclusion that adolescents who are spending more time in front of computer screens, tablets, cell phones, or on social media in general, are growing susceptible and are more likely to report mental illnesses as opposed to the adolescents who are reporting to be doing homework, exercising or playing outside more, or just spending less time with their noses in screens in general. So basically, they came to the realization that the kids who decided to go play kickball with some friends and hangout in the sunlight were less likely to show signs of mental illnesses and report them.
"The less you are connected with human beings in a deep, empathic way, the less you're really getting the benefits of a social interaction," points out Alexandra Hamlet, who is a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. When I read this this quote, I think about the idea that you can say you have online friends and you may connect with them and talk to them online, but you aren't going to get that human interaction we all need to survive. However, adolescents these days seem to have a, "fear of missing out", so they are afraid if they aren't on social media, they think they're going to miss out on something important or funny that everyone else saw and they want to feel connected.
The last thing I want to cover about how social media induced depression, is the idea that it gives younger people the idea that they are good at multitasking. That they can finish their homework and watch tv and scroll social media. Dr. Hamlet states, "Basically, multitasking isn't possible," "What you end up doing is really just switching back and forth between two tasks rather quickly. There is a cost to the brain." Kids today think they are good at multitasking, but realistically, none of us are.
Social media induced depression is really becoming an issue in children and young adults, and we need to address this issue more seriously. We need to monitor the way our children are posting or what they are viewing more, to an extent, and help them get away from the screens too. Get your child out of the house and play outside for a little while today, because it can really help make a difference to them!