Social media

Social media simplifies and accelerates communication between diverse groups of people all over the world. It provides access to information that spreads worldwide, uniting the world. Because of the convenience of social media, some young people start to rely on it, letting it become the most important part of their lives. However, the majority of young people are not aware that the widespread use of social media has been preventing them from having well-balanced mental health. Social media should be limited in order for young people to be mentally healthy.

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People on phones with social media icon chalkboard

Decrease of communication skills

As we know, social media enables all the people stay connected with others by texting, video chats and reading news-feeds. If people want to know what’s going on with their friends they go check on Facebook or Twitter. People think social media has been deepening their friendship by simply texting and sharing their life moments.  Inversely, interacting with friends face to face has been descending increasingly. Instead of interacting with people face to face, we prefer stay at home and hide ourselves from being 100% real with other people. A research found that 11% of adults prefer to stay at home and communicate on the devices rather than going out and socializing in person. Even some adults prefer online communication, not to mention the teenagers. To support this, many people escape realistic conversation with each other by saying “Follow me on Instagram” and “Text me anytime”. This proving that people are losing their social skills and it negatively affects their personality. Personality of some people might change from outgoing to introverted when they rely on social media as their main form of communication.

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Anxiety

Social media has been a factor of anxiety-provoking situations. A study found that 45% of social media users feel worried and uncomfortable when email and Facebook are inaccessible, 60% of respondents needed to switch phones and computers to feel safe. The fear of missing out and personal failure are good examples of anxiety. When pictures and videos on Facebook or Instagram have more likes than theirs or they were not invited to an event such as party, will lead to anxiety. The anxiety will negatively impact on the person’s self-esteem and self-worth, if they did not have high achievements or they are unpopular than others, regarding number of likes. A poll found that two-thirds of people are difficult to relax completely or fall asleep after using social media. And one quarter of people are facing problems of relationships or workplace after becoming confrontational online. This anxiety causes a decline in confidence, physical and psychological health. 

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Pressure of cyber-bullying

Social media has been increasing the rate of cyber-bullying. Because of the anonymity, bullies can hide themselves behind the screen using the internet to demean whoever they want. Somehow they think cyber-bullying is not a crime and will result with no consequences. They will be brazen and put harsh words in a comment to someone behind a fake identity. However, some victims of cyber-bullying have suffered from depression as online predators belittle their esteem. The depression might cause serious dangers. In 2013, a spate of victims who were being abused committed suicide. The social media network Ask.fm was the site bullies used that led to suicide which, specifically the death of teenagers, as the website is used by asking questions anonymously. Cyber-bullying can undeniably leave serious wounds. This cyber-bullying can lead to a variety of depression, loss of confidence and affects teenager’s mental health.

 

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Enable to make friends – Not really

It is true that social media provides opportunities for people to make new friends, especially some young people who are introverted or autistic to communicate with people face to face. It is a good way to improve their communication skills and prevents them being isolated. Social media can help them to meet people with the same interests and personality. A study into social media shows that nearly seven-in-ten teenagers receive the support they need online when they are having a rough time. But, some of the friends do not exist. A study found that almost all friends on Facebook are not real. A professor (Robin Dunbar) of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University found 15 friends are real out of 150. Once those people who have problems to make friends in real life found out their friends are not real, it would lead more damages to them. Because they spent the whole time communicating to someone that does not even exist, it is not easy for them to unload the atrial. The depression and isolation might spread out from making new fake friends, especially since they are the only friends they have, fake or not.

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From the chart, less than 5 people from Facebook are close friends, less than 15 are friends that have sympathy for the Facebook users. 

 

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Conclusion

There are number of downsides of social media, namely that it prevents young people to have a well-balanced mental health. But it does has advantages of communication, it assists with guiding young people into physical meetings offline and easily stay connected with others. It is improving the standard of life and convenience. But what is the point if young people are not happy about their real life and addicted to the life they lead online.  Social media should be limited for young people to interact with others. For example, the limitation of age. Facebook has an age policy is that no one under 13 can register to have an account. A study found that the average online Brit spends 4.6 hours a week to communicate with friends online, only 6 hours a week to communicate in person. Parents can limit the time of using social media for young people such as few hours during a day, let them spending more time with their real friends. Helping them to have well-balanced mental health. The good way to make friends and improve their physical and mental health is meeting people in real life.

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APA References:

Britney Fitzgerald (12 July, 2012). Social Media Is Causing Anxiety, Study Finds. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/social-media-anxiety_n_1662224.htm

 Laura Donnelly (8 July, 2012). Facebook and Twitter feed anxiety, study finds. The Telegraph. Retrieved from:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/9383609/Facebook-and-Twitter-feed-anxiety-study-finds.html 

Stephanie Pappas (22 June, 2015). Cyberbullying on Social Media Linked to Teen Depression. Live Science. Retried from:

http://www.livescience.com/51294-cyberbullying-social-media-teen-depression.html

ANGELA CAITO (24 January 2015). Is social media killing our communication skills? Blasting News. Retried from:

http://uk.blastingnews.com/tech/2015/01/is-social-media-killing-our-communication-skills-00244897.html

R. I. M.Dunbar (20 January, 2016). Do online social media cut through the constraints that limit the size of offline social networks? The Royal Society. Retried from:

http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/1/150292

ANTHONY CUTHBERTSON (25 January, 2016). FACEBOOK FRIENDS ARE FAKE FRIENDS, STUDY FINDS. News Week. Retried from:

http://www.newsweek.com/facebook-friends-are-fake-friends-study-finds-419189

 (6 August, 2015). Chapter 4: Social Media and Friendships. Pew Research Center. Retried from:

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/06/chapter-4-social-media-and-friendships

November 21, 2012 Sean Royer (21 November, 2012). Mobile Marketing: It’s About Convenience, Simplicity, and Proximity. Social media Today. Retried from:

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/mobile-marketing-its-about-convenience-simplicity-and-proximity

 (8 January, 2016). How Social Media Addiction is Bad for Mental Health. Socialnomics. Retried from:

http://socialnomics.net/2016/01/08/how-social-media-addiction-is-bad-for-mental-health

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