It was 2006 and I created my first social media account. It seemed so fun to connect with others I had not seen for years. I saw it as a fun tool to use once a month for an hour to check up on old college friends and former neighbors. Unfortunately, as social media continued to evolve, its dominance and impact on us as individuals and a society has become more apparent. The results are not good.
Studies have now had more than a decade to follow the impacts that social media has on people. The alarming findings demonstrate that the technology has developed more quickly than we as a society have figured out how to deal with its impacts.
Research indicates that social media:
- Can hurt our current and future wellbeing
- Negatively influences our physical and mental health
- Is associated with increases in suicide attempts
- Contributes to internet addictions
- Increases the chance of marital discord and divorce
- Leads to reduced life satisfaction
- Makes people feel more poorly about their self-image
- Increases body mass index
Be honest with yourself and consider if you experience any of these symptoms after using social media. Then, ask yourself this question: is it really worth it?
You might be wondering, “What about the social benefits of social media”? The sad fact is that there are few studies demonstrating benefits of social media. In contrast, the following are positive impacts from face-to-face social interactions and developing strong in-person social ties:
- Lower risk of mental health problems
- Better physical health
- Fewer addiction problems
- Lower mortality rates
- Fewer marital problems
- Reduced risk of suicide
Now ask yourself the question, is your time on social media worth more than these six things?
We as human beings need connection to others. We need healthy relationships. However, these connections and relationships need to exist in-person, not through social media. We would be wise to limit or eliminate our social media use and instead focus on building healthy face-to-face relationships with our families and friends.
Sign up for Dr. Swinton’s mental health and relationship tips! Text the word DRSWINTON to (844) 310-9796 to sign up!
Also published in the Richfield Reaper.
If you have questions you would like me to confidentially address here, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.