Social Media and Depression Essay Example
From a study in 2017, half a million 8th to 12th graders have a form of depression. Another study from the same source shows that 92 percent of teenagers own a smartphone (Child's Mind). Psychologists today think that as phones and media get more popular, depression increases (Child’s Mind). Social media negatively impacts teen depression through body image, addiction, and friendships.
Beautiful and Flawless
When teenagers are exposed to beautiful and “flawless” people on social media they tend to get uncomfortable with their body image. First, Caroline Miller, the author of “Does Social Media Cause Depression” and director of the Child Mind Institute states that both teenage men and women are affected by jealousy of the perfect models on social media. “Another theory about the increase in depression is the loss of self-esteem, especially in teenage girls, when they compare themselves negatively with artfully curated images of those who seem to be prettier, thinner, more popular and richer….Boys are also negatively affected by social media when it comes to being influenced to partake in bad activities” (“Child Mind Institute”).
Namely, teenage girls are pressured to be the thinnest, prettiest, richest, and flawless. Boys on the other hand are pressured into looking cool to impress their peers. When a teenager is peer pressured into being like everyone else, their real self gets buried underneath a layer of the new fake them. When teenagers are too buried in their fake self, things will get stressful and will lead to depression. Or, a teenager might think they are not pretty, thin, or smart enough. From another view, social media will change a teenagers body after an amount of self-esteem leaves.
Social media causes self-esteem to decrease, and soon it causes teenagers to change their body. Sandoiu from Medical News Today explains that "We really need to educate young people on how social media use could be making them feel about themselves and how this could even be linked to stringent dieting, eating disorders, or excessive exercise. There are people who may be triggered by social media and who are especially vulnerable," (“How Does Social Media…”). Social media impacts teenagers to eat insufficient or a surplus amount, or be pressured into working out in the gym 24/7, and likely causes depression. Lastly, people will react worse when they are already self conscious.
The peer pressure of perfect people makes everyone want to change their body and thus they are also very uncomfortable with their body. “In order to investigate the underlying processes, one study investigated over 100 seventh graders and found that adolescent girls who shared more photos online, such as selfies, and used more photoshop felt worse about their appearance and exhibited greater eating concerns” (The Inquisitive Mind). The teenagers who fall into this trap end up making their body image worse than before leading to worse depression. The more severe their addiction is, the more they hurt their health. In conclusion, this is how depression and body image are linked.
Addiction to Social Media
Because teenagers are on social media they soon get addicted to it and social media can be very dangerous when addicted to. As a result of addiction teenagers’ lives are at stake. The Delphi Health Group says, “People are losing their jobs, students aren’t paying enough attention to their studies, and even in some extreme cases, it has caused accidental death of children. What’s more, a recent study shows that there is a link between social media addiction and negative mental health effects” (Delphi Health Group). This is all happening because of social media and the addiction to it. When teenagers fall behind on work or school and focus on their phones, they soon lose the work and school and have all the time to keep feeding the phone addiction.
Addiction causes horrible problems and tough to find solutions. Isolation is another factor to addiction. “It turns out that the people who reported spending the most time on social media more than two hours a day had twice the odds of perceived social isolation than those who said they spent a half hour per day or less on those sites spending a lot of time on social media makes people feel isolated” (NPR). It is a chain effect. Once teenagers get addicted to social media, there will be more isolation in their life, causing them to run back to your phone as a source of entertainment.
Teenagers need social interaction with others daily. When a teenager is isolated from the world, you will lose most of your friends and as a result feel depressed. The last factor of addiction is concentration. Social media affect teenagers concentration in all different ways. This is one of the most impactful ways addictions can harm depression; “Social media commands our attention at a much faster rate than other media sources, such as newspapers, radio, and even television.
Because of our nation’s addiction to social media, our brains are trained to be distracted in other areas of our lives” (The Odyssey Jamile Eiland). Social media is worse than any other media. When it comes to social media, teenagers can get addicted to it and will not be able to do anything without their phone in their hand. One minute you could be doing work, the next you could be glued to your phone. If teenagers are always distracted then, they do not get their work done and fall behind causing sadness and depression.
Another harm social media may cause is damage in friendships. First off, a teenager may have an online friend through social media by online friends may not be all good according to Psychology Today; “Depending on the identity of the “virtual friend,” a teenager may be building relationships online that are closer than they have with real-time friends—or building fantasy-grade relationships with people who are not truly anything like the person that they have created online” (“When Online Friends…”).
When you make online friends, people can be different from what they seem to be. They might post a picture of a model and claim that it’s them. If teenagers have online friends that’s just fine, but they have to be aware that they may not be the person they are portraying themselves as. Next, in reality your real friends may be deceiving you through what they post. “Your friend may use social networking to help vent their frustrations, and as a result, you might believe that things are going really poorly for them. Or, perhaps the opposite is true.
Your friend may be maintaining a positive outlook online, but in actuality, things are bleak now for them.” “(Live About”). A teenager may get confused about their friends lives, and soon they won’t know what to think. This also harms their friend because she or he might be going through a really hard patch of her or his life, but be forced to put up a happy post on her/his Instagram. Lastly, friend get togethers and social media posts can hurt other teenagers.
Some excludment could be shown in a friends post “When a friend posts pictures of parties, coffee dates and other social events that your child was not invited to, this can cause a lot of hurt and pain. Not only does your child feel left out, but she also may wonder why she wasn’t included” (“Very well family”). If a teenager realizes she or he was not invited to this event, they will be upset with the host and all the attendants at the party. The teenager may think that they are not cool enough to hang out with the other teenagers, and obvious spark some sadness.
Psychologists think that there is a link between depression and social media because depression increases as social media gets more popular. Social media is damaging teenagers mental health, specifically causing depression.