As years pass by, more and more people engage into social media. In response to that, new platforms are constantly created in order to better respond to consumer’s emerging needs and trends (e.g. Snapchat, Tinder etc.). In essence, studies reveal that as of 2016 there had been 10% growth in the number of active social media users and 17% growth in the number of active mobile social media users as well (Chaffey, 2016). Together with that, the number of people diagnosed with depression increases by 20% each year (Healthline, 2012). Of course, many reasons hold responsibility regarding that issue, such as the economic downfall and unemployment. However, it is interesting to take a deeper look into the way social media affect mental well-being.
Lewis et al. (2015) in their research about social media effect on adolescents indicate that Internet and social media usage are positively related to depression. Another study reveals that media multitasking is associated both with depression and social anxiety (Becker, 2013). Considering the previously mentioned fact, that people tend to spend an increasingly amount of time in social media, we understand why these studies hold true. We become more and more anti – social, avoiding real human interaction. Instead of that, we are pleased on observing what is going on around us through our screens and we falsely assume that we are keeping contact with friends and acquaintances because they exist in our Facebook friend list. We still know how our “friends” our doing, because this is observable in their social network page but not because we have actually expressed interest on them.
In addition to that, the self presentation in the online world might also result in depression and social anxiety. The way someone presents his life in social media is not reflecting necessarily the reality. People are continuously exposed to an environment of their e-friends’ ideal lifestyles. As a result, they struggle themselves to follow what their peers are doing, in order to fulfill their need for belongingness. Of course, in the end, nothing is as easy and fascinating as it appears to be, and here comes disappointment, misery and distress.
Lewis, A. J., Knight, T., Germanov, G., Benstead, M. L., Joseph, C. I., & Poole, L. (2015). The Impact on Family Functioning of Social Media Use by Depressed Adolescents: A Qualitative Analysis of the Family Options Study. Frontiers in Psychiatry Front. Psychiatry, 6.
Becker, M. W., Alzahabi, R., & Hopwood, C. J. (2013). Media Multitasking Is Associated with Symptoms of Depression and Social Anxiety. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 16(2), 132-135.
Chaffey, D. (2016). Global Social Media Statistics Summary 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016, fromhttp://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/
Depression Statistics: Unhappiness by the Numbers [INFOGRAPHIC]. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/statistics-infographic