Social media is a part of the lives of nearly three billion people worldwide. Social media consists of apps on almost any electronic device including smartphones, computers, tablets, and monitors. The most common forms of social media includes snapchat, instagram, twitter, facebook, tumblr, and many more. These apps are used for sharing daily activity of an individual, communication, and a source of comfort for many. People use social media because it is a basic, human desire. Despite the comfort provided by social media, they can cause immense psychological damage to an individual. Social media is also major source, if not the largest source of bullying. This form of bullying is called cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is an extreme problem for many reasons, but mainly because a bully can harass their victim anonymously. Obviously, there are colossal issues with this. Because the victim cannot identify their bully, the consequences are miniscule. The most common mental disorders derived from social media includes depression, stress, and lack of sleep. Because of the previous stated disorders and additional negative impacts of social media, it is very clear that the negatives of social media outweigh the positives.
Using social media, for some people is a way to relax and release built up stress. But, data taken in 2015 proves otherwise. The level of stress intake from browsing through social media is far greater than the level of stress released. So, people who think they are releasing stress by browsing social media are actually increasing their stress levels. The human brain becomes tired from social media because of the constant switching from one task to another and trying to comprehend so much information at once. This action puts an immense amount of stress on a users brain and can be mentally dangerous. It is strongly advised to take a break from browsing through social media to allow the brain time for cooling down. Stress leads to physical fatigue as a result of brain fatigue, and lack of concentration which can make living a normal, everyday life a challenge. Coping with stress often times leads to bad habits like smoking, becoming aggressive, drinking alcohol, self criticism, and more. An experiment was conducted which consisted of Michigan State students instructed to browse Facebook for 10 minutes and a group of students assigned to post and talk to friends for 10 minutes. The mood of the socially interactive group was significantly better than the group that browsed facebook for 10 minutes. Stress from social media is also derived from self-comparison. Most users of social media subconsciously compare themselves to others leading to bad self-esteem and more stress. Stress is directly derived from social media and is thoroughly exemplified through the negative effects on the human body internally, and externally. Depression is another example of a mental illness directly derived from social media.
Social media, along with all its contents are believed to be a direct cause of depression. The feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness are both derived from online interactions. Depression is a mental illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It can also make an individual lose interest in an activity once enjoyed. Depression can be serious enough as to stop the functioning of a normal life. Depression can affect an individual in a workplace, or at everyday activities. Mood is obviously altered as well. A user of social media can be seen to act gloomy and more negative. In some cases, depression can be easily hidden by an individual and prevents the help from others. Depression, like stress, can lead to self-comparison to others. Appetite can also be altered as a result of depression. If an individual sees someone online with a physique in which they desire, appetite can be altered and can even lead to anorexia. Loss of energy is another effect of depression. Desire to try and to participate in an active life can be lost. But, the major negative effect of depression is thoughts of suicide. Social media allows for anyone to see posts from almost anyone in which they desire. If someone compares themselves to everyone and everything they see on social media, they could have negative thoughts including suicide. Sadie Riggs, 15-year old girl from Bedford, Pennsylvania was harassed on social media through her freshman year in highschool. The cyberbullying took place through Facebook, Instagram, and Kik. Sadie had previously gone though challenges in her life including her mother leaving her when she was little. Despite getting through this tough personal experience, cyberbullying was too much for her. She committed suicide because of depression derived directly from social media. Depression is a direct effect of social media and leads to a dysfunctional life, and suicidal thoughts. Lack of sleep is another negative effect on the human body derived from social media.
Social media can be a consuming activity for many people. Daily, hours upon hours are spent browsing through other people’s posts. Artificial light coming from smartphone screens as well ask tablets can inhibit the production of melatonin which facilitates sleep. Blue light is also emitted from screens and is the main reason for lack of melatonin. So, browsing social media leads to lack of sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep every night is crucial to functioning properly the following day. The main effects of lack of sleep includes fatigue, lack of focus, and a short temper. After many sleepless nights, the brain will begin to fog, making concentration nearly impossible. Continued lack of sleep can make an individual more prone to mental illnesses. These illnesses includes obesity, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Lack of sleep can also disrupt the immune system, making an individual more prone to illnesses that are “going around”. Lack of sleep can also lead to long term depression and anxiety. Lack of sleep is clearly a harmful effect of social media and further proves that social media is harmful.
Overall, the negative of using social media obviously outweigh the positives. Depression, lack of sleep, and stress are all direct results of social media. But each effect branches off into more negative effects of using online interaction apps. For example, social media leads to depression which leads to feelings of being worthless which then lead to thoughts of self harm. Social media is a dangerous habit to acquire and the negative impacts are not worth the positives. Social media is overall harmful because of the effect including depression, lack of sleep, and stress.