As internet usage and accessibility have grown, so have associated issues as they relate to safety and rights. Social media is widespread across several platforms making use of text, messaging, pictures, videos, and all manner of communication formats. However, this increased connectivity has led to new social issues, and protecting the rights of social media harm victims has become a growing concern for adults and children alike. One key area of concern is how social media use can negatively impact mental health.
The Negative Impact Social Media Can Have On Mental Health
The negative impacts social media can have on your mental health are varied and takes several forms.
- A Lack of Personal Connection: with the increase in personal responsibility for both adults and children, many people have started to use social media as an easy replacement for in-person interaction. Social media lack the subtlety of in-person interaction which can lead to misread statements and in some cases, increased abusive behavior due to a sense of distance. This can lead to negative emotions such as isolation and reduced self-esteem.
- Lowing Self-Esteem: social media can greatly impact self-image. Social media postings are often highly stylized and have little connection to real-life events. This impacts adults negatively but is more harmful to children who may take these highly staged images at face value. This creates unrealistic expectations for things such as appearance and material success. Self-esteem is negatively impacted as a child feels like a failure by not living up to impossible standards.
- Bullying: as noted, the disconnect and distance social media causes can lead to increased bullying. Bullying is harmful to children and the fact it occurs on social media does not reduce its impact and negative effects. Social media bullying can be particularly harmful due to how public it can be and the effect of piling on. This can lead to a variety of negative mental health issues and, in extreme cases, has led to self-harm. The effects social media has had on bullying is one of its main issues and a common topic of discussion.
- Loss of Sleep and Productivity: there is an additive element to social media. It can slowly start consuming a user’s time, reducing the ability to concentrate on education and daily tasks. Another danger is reducing sleep due to an impulsive need to keep up-to-date on social media events. Social media creates dopamine effects in the brain which can negatively impact impulse control and decision-making.
- Criminal Activity: social media is home to criminals of several types. While more severe crimes such as child predators are more widely reported, there are other ‘lesser’ crimes that are psychologically damaging if not necessarily physically dangerous. Social media is home to various scams and frauds which, if your child is a victim, can cause psychological distress.
The idea that the internet is not to be taken seriously is a common one. The events that happen online can cause a noticeable strain on mental well-being and are no less real simply because they were posted instead of said face-to-face. If your child has been psychologically harmed by social media there very well could be a legal course of action you could take, and you should reach out for expert advice.