Social Media Impact on Mental and Physical Health

4 mins read
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Evolution of Techno-World.

I would not be wrong if I say today, we are living in a Digital world where everything is revolving around social media and the urge to post one’s life online has turned into an addiction. This wasn’t the case a decade ago, the world was still warming up to the Internet, Mobile phones, and Computers.

Technology was evolving but at a steady pace. We relied on face-to-face interactions and social gatherings more than technology. But the last decade has seen a rapid advancement in technology and with its growth people started drifting away from social meetings to social media. Social media has become an important part of today’s world.

Social media is a new reality.

We often heard our elders quoting ‘Excess of anything isn’t good.’ What happens when we cross that limit and most importantly who decides that limit for us? In today’s world the moment a baby opens its eyes is exposed to the internet. Posting everything on social media has become a trend and so is staying updated with its new features.

Humans are social creatures; we thrive on love and compassion. We rely on emotions and sharing those feelings with our loved ones brings a sense of relief to us. Even though many times we don’t get the solution for the problem yet just sharing it makes half of our problems gone.

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-iphone-showing-social-networks-folder-607812/

But with the emergence of social networking sites, human interactions have been minimized. Rather than living in the moment, we are living in the moment we can showcase our life on one such platform.
Everything has become a stage, where we compete for better likes, comments, visibility, and followers. The evolution of the world of Social Networking Sites has created havoc among humans.

Social Media’s effect on health.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

The rapid development of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has increased over the last decade. Technology has entered its never seen phase. Every area of the world is connected now, all thanks to technology.

With its easy access in every nook and corner of the world, social media has become a huge part of people’s lives. We rely on the internet for basic things and information. Our dependency on social media is not just for knowledge but has increased to seeking validation from it.

“Albert Einstein (Scientist) rightly quoted that – it has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

Image by Jackie Ramirez from Pixabay

Let’s have a look at social media’s impact on our health in detail.

Mental health

Have you ever asked for advice on anything from your family or friends? Do you ask for your family’s views when you wear a new dress? They tell you honestly what they feel about you and the dress. Isn’t it?

But what if you post a picture of you in the same dress on social media and someone leaves a gloomy comment?
Maybe you start feeling bad about yourself or you feel angry at the person who commented. If you feel dejected and in rage, you either delete the post or the comment.

Is it healthy to react this way? All this anger, resentment, and sadness just over a post. Well, this might be happening with someone right now as you are reading this post.

Anxiety, Depression, FOMO, and psychological stress to name a few are the side effects humans are trading in for the long hours of social media exposure. The eagerness to know who liked what was posted often leads to agitation. One more thing which creates tension is the feeling of jealousy that develops when the posting becomes a competition.

Below I have discussed a few of the mental health issues connected with social media exposure.

Photo by SHVETS production: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-lying-on-bed-while-using-a-cellphone-8036690/
  • Insomnia: – Excess social media use disturbs one’s pattern of sleeping causing insomnia. According to a 2019 study, social media interrupts the individual sleep cycle.
  • Cyberbullying: – Children especially teens become victims of cyberbullying. It also leads to long-term harm to the memory of the children. In a 2020 survey of more than 6,000 individuals aged 10–18 years, researchers found that about half of them had experienced cyberbullying.
  • FOMO (Fear of missing out): – Social media projects a happier version of one’s life to others. It amplifies the individual feelings about others’ life. This often triggers feelings of being left out of the social culture and develops restlessness in individuals. I guess social media channels have proved the saying “Grass is greener on the other side.”
  • Depression: – Individuals who are exposed to longer hours of social media often suffer from depression. When things don’t work out according to them, it makes them feel dejected and cut out from the rest of the world. Humans are made for interaction. Face-to-face interaction invokes warm feelings and releases happy hormones. Which when taken away from one’s life results in feeling lonely and worthless.

Photo by Keira Burton: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ethnic-friends-gossiping-on-yard-of-university-6147142/
  • Questioning one’s physical appearance: – social media has always emphasized physical beauty. It has even introduced various filters for its enhancement. People use such filters to make their appearance appealing and beautiful. This has created a need in individuals for a great physical personality. Not only children but even adults stress over their bodies and clothes. They even compare themselves with the models

Physical health

When you are not happy mentally it affects your physical health as well. The person who shows signs of depression doesn’t care much about food intake. Slowly and steadily, it affects their normal diet and their health deteriorates.

  • Refraining from physical exercise: – People are so engrossed in social media that they neglect their physical health as well. They sit in the same position for long hours. Lack of body movement results in the formation of various adhesions in the body which leads to neck and body sprain as well. These sprains when not treated properly lead to lifelong disease.
Photo by Kindel Media: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-a-man-having-a-neck-pain-7298881/
  • Eye infection: – Individuals indulge in their mobile phones or laptop for a longer period of time to access social media channels. As all these devices emit blue light, it affects human eyes to a great extent causing various eye-related problems such as blurred vision, difficulty in concentrating, dry and red eyes, headaches, etc.

Social media use has been linked to depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Recent studies referenced by The Child Mind Institute and the National Center for Health Research suggest people who frequently use social media feel more depressed and less happy with life than those who spend more time on non-screen-related activities.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Various research is still undergoing to understand the severity of social media and its impact on human health. Earlier people used to gather in their balconies or gardens for evening talks. This way they used to get a lot of exposure to various topics as well. The healthy discussion about life and the world not only kept them happy but also motivated them for creating a better reality different from the virtual one.

To head towards a better future it is important for us to use technology responsibly. It is rightly said with power comes responsibility. 

Renu Solanki works as a content specialist with Postbox Consultancy Services. She is an English Literature graduate.

She is an avid-reader and passionate about the study of the Universe, Spirituality, Psychology and Traditional Culture. In her free time she likes to indulge in a steaming cup of black coffee & Netflix.