OPINION: Social media has impact on mental health


Gabriella Anderson, Chief Editor

Today most people, teens especially, stare at phone screens all day watching likes and comments, judging everything they post. We often don’t think twice about these things as they are common and normal in today’s society. But how are they really affecting young adults’ developing brains, their confidence? their self esteem? How does social media really impact our mental health?

Just like everyone else, I’m guilty of sitting on my phone for hours a day stuck scrolling through the many social media platforms out there. We can all admit social media is a great way to connect with friends, and especially those who we don’t see often or who live far away, but when do the harmful effects start to outweigh those benefits? 

According to an article by McLean, “The platforms are designed to be addictive and are associated with anxiety, depression, and even physical ailments.” (mcleanhospital.org). Along with those harmful effects, social media almost always paints a false narrative of things and creates unrealistic beauty standards, not just for young women but for everyone. Scrolling through instagram or facebook and seeing so called “perfectly” shaped people all day who are size smalls and have hourglass figures is completely unrealistic and probably edited. We see posts of people smiling and seeming on top of the world but in reality that’s only a tiny fraction of their lives and is entirely misleading. These lies that social media feeds to impressionable teens causes body image issues and negative comparing thoughts constantly. An article from King University Online says, “87percent of women and 65percent of men compare their bodies to images they consume on social and traditional media. In that comparison, a stunning 50 percent of women and 37 percent of men compare their bodies unfavorably.” (online.king.edu). 

Like I stated, there are benefits to social media that are sometimes overlooked. Social media is a great place to connect with people who are feeling the same way you are and allows people to feel comfortable sharing their experiences and challenges with mental health. An article by Painted Brain says, “The anonymity afforded by social media offers a safe space for people to express themselves and reveal their personal experiences with mental illness. In other words, it allows self-expression without the danger of stigma.” (paintedbrain.org)

With the many negative and positive effects social media has on our mental health, it’s not easy to say if you should continue to use it. It is, however, easy to say that whether you find it good or bad, our mental health is hugely impacted by social media whether we like it or not and it’s important to be aware of how it’s affecting you.