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April 17, 2024

Social media

How does it affect our mental health

Social media plays a part in everyone’s lives, whether they like it or not. In today’s age, social media is such a prominent part of society that even without having any downloaded on your phone or computer, it will likely still affect you on a daily basis. In the United States, 81% of teenagers and 61% of adults use social media, with the average screen time among teenagers being 8 hours and 39 minutes daily. This brings forth a questionabout how the frequent use of social media affects our mental health.

Studies have shown that social media can be very addictive. When using social media, a chemical called dopamine is released within the brain, giving consumers a temporary feeling of happiness. This feeling is what brings people back to these platforms. Once the dopamine levels start to drop, people will return to social media to raise them again. This creates an addictive cycle that can be hard to break. When it is broken, whether it is forced or by choice, it can lead to anxiety and depression, as shown in recent studies.

Social media’s addictive nature is not the only aspect that is leading to mental health issues, however. Other things, such as cyberbullying or comparison, can occur when using social media, which has been shown to have negative effects on users. Often, when using social media, people are presented with videos or photos of what those close to them have done recently. Most frequently, this causes users to compare themselves to others and can lead to feelings of jealousy or self-esteem issues.

After interviewing a few students who use social media, I was able to get a better idea of what people think of it on a more broad spectrum. One student, Sterling Wilson, a senior at Farmington High School, claims that while social media hasn’t affected him negatively, it has affected people that are close to him. He states that one of his close friends used to spend a lot of time on social media, which “put him in a very bad depression.” Overall, he believes that social media has a more positive influence on him and those around him. However, Emma Duheric, a sophomore at Hunter High School, claims that social media has a more negative effect on society. She claims that social media creates an “unrealistic beauty standard” that people tend to compare themselves to and believe they need to follow. She also states that it leads people to socialize less and makes them less motivated.

Social media and mental health seem to be a very divisive topic and something that people should form opinions about on their own. However, many studies suggest that it has a more negative effect on our society, and taking time away from it could significantly improve our mental health and daily lives.

Sources and statistics credit:

https://www.mcleanhospital.org/essential/it-or-not-social-medias-affecting-your-mental-health

https://etactics.com/blog/social-media-and-mental-health-statistics#:~:text=Spending%20more%20than%203%20hours,high%20usage%20of%20social%20media.

https://backlinko.com/social-media-users

https://www.mykidsvision.org/knowledge-centre/screen-time-in-teenagers-how-can-we-manage-it#:~:text=Screen%20time%20is%20a%20necessary,hours%20for%20pre%2Dteen%20children.

https://www.jeffersonhealth.org/your-health/living-well/the-addictiveness-of-social-media-how-teens-get-hooked#:~:text=%E2%80%9CSocial%20media%20platforms%20drive%20surges,when%20gambling%20or%20using%20drugs.%E2%80%9D

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About the Contributor
Samantha Sorensen, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Samantha Sorensen and I am a sophomore at Hunter High School. Some things I like to do for fun are hang out with friends and family, watch movies, and go shopping. My interest for journalism started when I took a speech and debate class during my freshman year of high school. I discovered that I like arguing a point and trying to make a change, but I didn't like the competition. I feel that because of this, Journalism is a better fit for me, because I can write influential stories and prove a point but without the competition and arguing, and so far I am really enjoying this class. This school year I am looking forward to meeting new people and learning new things, and I am hoping to broaden my horizons in journalism.

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