Social media has become an addiction. In fact, according to the Royal Society of Public Health, social media has become more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. Now, while it may seem like a smaller vice as compared to the former vices mentioned, social media could still be causing us to lose touch with reality and our actual social lives.
In the same study previously discussed, the Royal Society of Public Health looked in social media in 2016 and proved that 91% of 16-24-year-olds use it for networking. Now, it is important to keep in the mind that the report does not clarify whether the users used social networking to be social or as a means to express themselves and compare themselves to others.
Comparison syndrome is extremely prevalent on social media. For example, Instagram which is one of the most popular social media platforms has proven to have the most negative impact on a user’s mental health. Where Youtube, another popular social media platform has been seen to have the most positive impact. Instagram is a platform that allows users to look into the lives of others and possibly relate to them and their brand. However, this can counteract the need for companionship and living in communities because using Instagram is a solo activity.
So, ultimately, you find people comparing themselves to others, and this can increase anxiety and cause other mental health issues limiting your social abilities. The problem is that this is only one social media platform that is causing people to become antisocial. Numerous reports by the Royal Society of Public Health, Statistica, and Flint have proven that social media is having a harmful effect on mental health with a 70% increase in cases of diagnosed anxiety and depression amongst young people in the last 25 years. These conditions can lead to social alienation, loneliness, and even suicide at times.
An interesting note is that these same studies have also reported that users were able to receive more emotional support through social media than any other physical channels outside of the digital world. So, with social media as an addiction, it can be seen as a solution to some people’s problems while also being the cause of them as well.