Zane Grover is a sports management major and is apart of the Wilkes football team. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors and traveling. One of his biggest motivations is his family.
Technology and the use of social media is causing more mental health problems in today’s society. Social media includes websites where individuals can send and receive feedback or give feedback on any individual post, which is where all of the mental health issues come into play. As technology continues to advance, being able to have access to social media will increase, which is why we have seen mental health issues become such a topic of discussion. The main issue that has come from the overuse of social media is that people are becoming more affected by what is happening on their small screens and being too wrapped up in what other people are saying or doing.
Mental health is what should be controlled by each individual, and being strong mentally is when you are able to always be in control of your thoughts and actions. However, when using online platforms, we can see more people struggling to understand who they are within their own body because they are constantly watching other people and are unaware of themselves. To put into perspective, most people will post on social media with the goal of pleasing others, but when someone does not like what you are doing based on what you are posting on social media, you might be susceptible to getting negative backlash, which is why it is ultimately up to the individual to be comfortable with their own self-standing. To go along with that, most people try to put out what they believe is the most appealing to strangers, and if there isn’t an appeal to the people who come across the post on social media, and some random person decides to use that post to bring down the other individual, then we start to see the problems that come along with mental health struggles. This was displayed when “One former Facebook executive (Chamath Palihapitiya), who quit the company and doesn’t allow his children to use social media, has said, “the short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.”(Senator Roy Blunt, Chairman) These dopamine feedback situations is what makes people want to go onto social media even more. Basically, if someone was to put out a post and get a great deal of positive feedback, they would want to go achieve that again. However, what they are trying to achieve truly has no real substance or meaning unless there is a positive relationship outside of the social media platform and in the real world. If there is no relationship in the actual real world, then what is being said through a small screen should not have an affect on the person because they understand how that person feels about them in real life. Although, if some stranger comes across the website and tries to tear you down, it takes a strong mental health to know that there is no true harm from what they are saying and that outside of that website life will go on. In relation, if a person was to have a weak mental health, they would constantly try to post things that please others and not themselves, causing there to be a lack of understanding of their own self, causing depression and feeling as if they are lacking self worth.
With that being said, social media is not always a bad thing, and it is a great way for friends and family to be able to communicate and stay up to current events. However, once there is being too much time spent on social media is when mental health problems start to get worse and worse. This is because there is less time being spent working on self benefitting tasks in real life, which leaves individuals trying to figure out who they are through comparing themselves to others who they look up to on social media. In reality, the same people that are being idolized on social media are not going to make you any different of a person, but instead will make you question what you can do in order to become similar to that person who you only know through a screen. The question of how much time spent on social media is actually too much is very difficult because some people will not be affected as much as others based on what they are viewing on the internet. Although, “Based on the survey by The Office of Electronic Transactions Development Agency, Bangkok, Thailand, it is found that Generation Y internet users or those with 15-34 years of ages are the group spending their time on the Internet in highest level – with the average of 54.2 hours a week or 7.2 hours a day.” (Sukwises 753) To put that into perspective, a normal work week is typically about 40 hours a week. It is fair to say that we have heard most people who have worked over 40 hours in a week say that they are tired and exhausted after work, and even complain about not wanting to continuously work those hours over and over. However, when having easy access to social media platforms it allows for people to spend large amounts of their time on the internet which is what causing the day after day dopamine feedback cycle that causes the destruction of mental health. It has been said that “in adolescents (particularly females), those who spent more time on social media and smartphones have a greater prevalence of mental health problems, including depression, than those who spent more time on “non‐screen” activities, with greater than 5 hours a day (versus 1 hour a day) associated with a 66% increased risk of one suicide‐related outcome.” (Twenge 117) Therefor, it is not so much of if people use social media, but more of concerned on the overuse of it and how it causes a brainwashing on what people think and how they act.
The brainwashing of individuals is something that most social media users would say does not affect them because there is no quick result that causes someone to change immediately. Although, “a recent randomized controlled trial found that six weeks of engaging in an online role playing game caused significant reductions in grey matter within the orbitofrontal cortex – a brain region implicated in impulse control and decision making.” (Feng 102) Even though role playing games and social media are two different things, we can see the similarities of situations. In general, the environment you are surrounded by is what causes people to naturally adapt. Therefor, if a person is constantly being surrounded by online factors for significant amounts of time, they will begin to believe what they are seeing and hearing on there the internet more than what they are hearing in real life. This issue is becoming more relevant in our daily lives because of the people we are becoming from being given the access to the information that is on social media. There has been an increase in awareness of this issue as well since there has been an increase in attention for this topic because of past events that have put it in the spotlight. Mental health is something that is not generally applauded when you are level headed because it is expected. It was stated that“a causal relationship between high levels of social media use and poorer mental health is currently difficult to establish, as there is most likely a complex interaction between several confounding factors, including reduced sleep and in‐person social interaction, and increased sedentary behaviour and perceived loneliness.” (Twenge 118) However, when we start to see common issues among people who are being exposed to social media, it is very easy to put the blame on the overuse of internet when the same people who are lacking a good mentality are on social media for multiple hours a day.
All in all, social media is an something that can only be found on the internet, and it is what drives and causes people to make decisions each and every day. The issue that causes mental health struggles comes from overusing social media. Mental health has become such an important topic because people are being brainwashed without realization, which causes the negative effects that come with mental health struggles. These struggles are what is put on display by people who have become stuck in the dopamine feedback loops, where they feel that they need to be accepted on social media in order to be accepted in the real world which is the root of mental health issues that we see in our daily lives.
Chaiwat Tantarangsee, Nithiwadee Kosarussawadee, and Aungkana Sukwises “International Journal of Information and Education Technology”, Vol. 7, No. 10, October 2017 pp 753-757
Zhou, Feng, et al. “Orbitofrontal gray matter deficits as marker of Internet gaming disorder: converging evidence from a cross‐sectional and prospective longitudinal design.” Addiction biology 24.1 (2019): 100-109.
Twenge, Jean M., et al. “Amount of time online is problematic if it displaces face-to-face social interaction and sleep.” (2018).
Twenge, Jean M., et al. “Digital media may explain a substantial portion of the rise in depressive symptoms among adolescent girls: Response to Daly.” (2018).
Senator Roy Blunt, Chairman “Social Media and Mental Health” October 5, 2021