Social Media Causes Depression – Research Suggests

Social Media Causes Depression – Research Suggests

Taking photos at any sort of gathering, event, or ceremony is mandatory for almost all people who own an account on social media. In fact, it is highly unlikely that you would meet anyone who does not have a Facebook or Instagram profile.

Social media has become an important part of the everyday life not only for connecting with family and friends which are living in the different parts of the world but keeping up with the latest news and trends.

This is the main argument that is forwarded by the supporters of social media platforms. In addition, having an account on social media and the content you share on put on your profile also matters a lot in things like chances of getting hired or getting accepted in some college.

Why does a social media account matter so much?

According to the latest studies, your profile and the different things you share on it can be of great significance to someone who is trying to figure out the kind of person you are and what sort of beliefs do you have.

Secondly, there are several other things that can reveal a lot about any person. Researchers have also specifically highlighted the role of such platforms in the diagnosis of depression and anxiety in people around the globe.

A new study published in the Journal EPJ Data Science takes into account a similar issue and links depression with social media profiles. The research particularly states that something as trivial as the Instagram filter can portray mental state of a person.

Read the research here.

The researchers included in the study examined around forty thousand posts from 166 subjects during the study and identified a series of patterns in posts by people who were suffering from depression including the use of photo filters.

People who were depressed did not use filters as often as people who did not have depression. The only filter that was used by such people once in a while was the one known as ‘inkwell’ which turns a photo into black and white.

On the other hand, people who did not have such a mental state posted more photos in general and used filters which lightened the photos and brightened their colors such as the ‘Valencia’ filter on Instagram.

Can social media cause depression?

This is probably not the first time you are reading about how social media can negatively impact the mental health of a person. There have been many studies that were previously conducted to look at the connection between social media and depression.

The depression and anxiety rates have indeed gone up as social media has become more popular than ever. People from every age group now have an account on the popular websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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On average, every other person has at least 6-7 accounts on different social media platforms. Seven may sound exaggerated to you but think about your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, SnapChat, YouTube, and LinkedIn accounts.

Counting just these make up seven social media profiles. Several people also use other applications like Kik and who could forget the infamous dating app Tinder. The higher the number of social media accounts, the worse anxiety and depression.

A small study conducted in the United Kingdom showed that Instagram by far linked the most with cases of disturbed mental health followed by SnapChat. The common thing in both of the platforms is that they are focused on photos.

The research showed that people who used both of the apps not only had exacerbated feelings of depression and anxiety but felt more lonely had self-esteem issues, faced bullying/shaming, and had trouble sleeping due to constant comparison with lives of other people on them.

Another study looked at the impact of using Facebook at the satisfaction levels of people. Different people who were given new Facebook accounts were observed for a period of only two weeks to see if they made any difference.

It was noted that within the short time, all of the observed subjects were less satisfied with their lives than they were before. Additionally, most of them had feelings of inadequacy as well as other negative sentiments.

Read more about effects of social media on Young Adults in the US here. 

What can you do?

Even though social media has allowed people to stay more connected than ever before, cases loneliness and depression have increased dramatically especially in adults between the ages of 25-45. It has been seen that people are not able to form ‘deeper and stable’ relationships with others.

Meeting up people in real and doing different activities with them is certainly not the same as chatting to them once in a while on social apps or liking their photos from their vacation on Instagram or their status on Facebook.

According to researchers, people often find it easier to form better relationships with other people when engaged in a similar activity with them that can be anything from having coffee to volunteering together.

In order to avoid depression from social media, it is important to limit the number of hours you spend on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram daily. Do not think of it as the only way to stay in touch with your friends and try to meet them in real instead.

It might be hard for many people to make time to meet friends due to jobs or school but consider it as an important part that has a big effect on your mental health. It can help lower stress and tension and even help you perform better at work or college.

Other things to keep in mind are not everything you see on social media is true. The so-called social media celebrities do not actually use the product they are selling and neither are their lives as interesting as they look on their profiles.

The person who always posts really good photos and selfies took at least several of them and picked a few out just like all other people do. The witty and impressive captions also take people a lot of time and thinking.

Remember everything you see online-only shows one part of the person’s life and not all of them. Nearly every post or photo they share will be there after a lot of effort and editing, especially the ‘waking up and looking fabulous’ photos are always highly edited.

Another tip on minimizing social media addiction is to deactivate all of the accounts for a week every month and have the seven days dedicated to mental health. Follow this idea or just take out days where you would not open Facebook or Twitter.

You can also try uninstalling the apps on your phone. People tend to use social media platforms on cellphones more than on laptops and tablets. It is better to have a few apps or keep your phone away in general to have better mental health.









Andrea White

As a graduate of Public Health and Policy, Andrea developed an interest in disease development, food and safety and the latest advancements in health. She is a Freelance writer who had affiliations with multiple blogs. Andrea is now pursuing her post-doctorate in Behavioral Sciences.

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