sample literature review

sample literature review

The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

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1. Introduction

What is the impact of social media on mental health? The objective of this issue is to comprehend the results social media basically has on college students and provide studies that facilitate to get to the bottom of the subtleties of how and when social media affects the moods of young people. Previous findings in this field are mixed; a few research have suggested that the habitual use of social media has adverse results on the mental health of young human beings, however, those findings are often correlational and may not show causation. In a single study of young people, participants stated that the most common positive effect of social media on their emotions was feeling connected. The majority said that they had to view or share a post that made them feel good, and one in ten said that viewing another’s post about their emotional experience made them experience greater empathy towards that person. The range and depth of how social media affects the moods of young people necessitates combined approaches to investigate; while surveys are a simple way to gain an understanding of the types of activities that young people engage in on social media, studies that allow active use of social media are needed to determine its effects on mood and emotions.

2. Literature Review

Cyberpsychology researchers have studied that interactions through social media can have a positive effect on boosting self-esteem and social e-well-being (Chua & Chen, 2011). Social e-well-being refers to the subjective state of being related to the attainment and maintenance of positive social relations. This kind of virtual interaction can take place between friends, family members, and also information seekers on support groups. It provides the user an opportunity to enhance relationships and find new friends of similar interests (Haridakis & Yian, 2007). Nevertheless, in the case of forming relationships, introverts find it easier to approach people online since there is a low risk of face threat and the fear of public scrutiny (Koutamanis, Vossen, & Peter, 2013).

The evolution of internet communication did not just stop with email. It has penetrated our lives with various social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and many others. Social media is a tool now that is very popular for people of all ages, especially the youths. Pew Research Centre’s study on adults had shown that internet usage for gathering information and meeting new people from the years 2005-2013 had increased from 32 to 63 percent. This clearly shows how people nowadays are dependent on the internet to form a social network (Madden, 2013).

The shift from the to an internet-based environment has changed the way people interact with each other. This involves both face-to-face and also virtual ways of interaction. The increase of internet and hardware technology, with its easy access, has changed the way people communicate and thus lowered the restriction and importance of physical presence (Coget & Yutaka, 2000).

3. Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

Social comparison involves people comparing themselves or their lifestyles to others. Social comparison on social media has been found to cause more harm than good. According to Festinger’s (1954) social comparison theory, people make self-evaluations by comparing themselves to others. He further added that people will find comparison beneficial only when there is some type of objective to measure the contrast with, making situations where individuals are unsure about their opinions and abilities more vulnerable to comparing with others. In a nutshell, people sometimes use others as a yardstick to see how well they are doing. If they are unsure, or if the quality they are evaluating is hard to measure, they might use someone similar to themselves as a point of comparison. And that is a crucial part of comparison for mental illness and well-being. People with mental illness are more likely to compare themselves to others and in doing this, are more likely to feel inferior, leading to further harming their well-being. This might also lead to people avoiding situations that will cause them to compare themselves to others, in fear of feeling inferior. In a study using 63 participants sampled from a university, it was found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the more they self-objectified. More time spent on Facebook also related to a decrease in mood and life satisfaction. This occurred because self-objectification often leads to feelings of shame, anxiety, and depression.

4. Strategies for Promoting Positive Mental Health

While the study of social media use in our sample is not likely to become largely outdated by newer internet technologies (most typically social networking sites), little is known about how a volume of online activities can benefit or harm the mental health status of the user. It cannot be assumed that what is good for mental health offline will be the same as online activities for mental health. For example, a large volume of research has found that exercise is very beneficial to one’s mental health status, but little is known about the mental health effects of those individuals who integrate exercise into their weekly routine and those who only post their exercise activities to their social media page with no real change in physical activity. This exploratory research of social media users and the effects of online activities on mental health is fundamental to the growth and advancement of the field of public health and social media. This controlled research environment will allow us to examine a variety of online activities and make accurate assessments of mental health statuses. This exploration can help develop guidelines for what online activities are beneficial to one’s mental health and what activities should be avoided.

5. Conclusion

After much evidence has been found and analyzed, it is clear that social media is having a substantial impact on the mental health of its users. As this relatively new phenomenon continues to grow, the influence it has on our health, both mental and physical, will be felt for years to come. In order to prevent the negative effects, research on the problem must be continued so that society can reap all of the benefits that social media has to offer, while avoiding the pitfalls. With awareness, utilization, research, and regulation, the negative effects that social media is having on the mental health of its users can be prevented. The idea of awareness suggests that by understanding how exactly social media is affecting our mental health, individuals can learn to use the technology in a more efficient manner. By understanding that Facebook in particular was associated with depressive symptoms, one can try and avoid using this particular application when they are feeling sad. A lot of social media usage is impulsive, so if individuals can learn to stop and think about the ways in which their online behavior is affecting their health, they can learn to avoid negative usage patterns. The general public must also be educated about how to recognize the symptoms of mental health issues which are being exacerbated by social media. If an individual can recognize that their excessive use of social media is causing them to feel depressed or anxious, they can take steps to prevent the use before serious damage is done. This may take the form of an application which educates individuals about their social media usage patterns, and suggests more constructive uses of their time.

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