Social media consists of websites or applications that enable people to connect, share information, and network with each other. Social media use has skyrocketed in recent years and is only increasing. Frequency of use can range from occasional to consistent and can have various effects as a result.
There are numerous benefits and disadvantages to social media, and individuals often have strong opinions on the topic. The truth is, the impact social media can have on your mental health or social life is directly correlated with how you use social media, how much time you spend scrolling through apps, your perception of what you see or hear, and how you are left feeling as a result of what you experience. Boundaries are important in every aspect of life, social media exposure is no exception.
Benefits of Social Media
Let’s discuss the advantages of social media first. While there are certainly some negative impacts that can be derived from social media use, there are also some benefits. Due to the convenience factor, sending and receiving information is easier than ever.
Social media applications and sites allow people from all over the world to connect with one another. Remember the days of long-distance calling fees? With applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others, individuals can connect based on occupation, interests, or proximity easily and without charge.
Social media has become an excellent platform for networking. With many applications matching you with people who have things in common, much of the work is done for you. You can easily search for others who may know some of the same people, attended the same school, or work in similar fields.
In addition to connecting and networking, social media can serve as a great resource for learning, as well. You can search almost any topic and find experts and information on exactly what you are looking for. From there, you can connect with others seeking the same information, or even join groups already created to address that topic.
Disadvantages of Social Media
Now that we have discussed some of the benefits of social media, let’s talk about a few of the detriments. Social media can be very influential. For example, there are icons specifically filling the roles of “influencers” working to persuade a targeted audience to purchase or become interested in whatever it is they are presenting. This can be consuming and confusing! Additionally, some researchers have associated online social networking with several psychiatric disorders, including depressive symptoms, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
Social media can affect mental health in several ways. One way social media can have a detrimental effect on mental health is by serving as a barrier to actual social interaction. Connecting through technology has become so simple and convenient that many will choose this form of interaction over actual face-to-face contact.
Humans need contact with other humans. Studies have proven time and time again that real, in-person connection is imperative to good mental health. In today’s society, face-to-face interaction and interpersonal relationships have been replaced by computer screens. This increases feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
While social media can have its perks when connecting with others who may be far away, it should not replace time spent actually engaging with those you are able to see, speak to, and touch in person. Unfortunately, this is often the case. Younger adults today are feeling less comfortable interacting with others in person and more comfortable chatting through text or communicating through social media. Many would consider in-person socializing a bit awkward.
Have you been out in public and noticed two people sitting together with their noses in their phones, but not interacting with each other? What is the point, right? This type of behavior is becoming more and more common in society today. Social media has a way of distracting us from living in the moment and enjoying what is happening in our own lives.
Social Media for Seeking Help
While there is plenty of great information available on the internet, there is also plenty of misleading, inaccurate information. If you are seeking help for drug or alcohol addiction, you may find yourself looking online for answers, information, or support. Seeking help from reliable sources and using reputable applications is an example of how social media and technology can be very beneficial.
The instant access to people, resources, and information is perhaps the reason behind the social media craze that has consumed this era. With appropriate use and boundaries, social media and apps can serve as a great resource for those in need of help or support.
Social media has approximately 3.96 billion users across various platforms as of March 2022. This number has been steadily increasing over the past decade and will continue to rise. Research suggests that there are both benefits and disadvantages to social media use. These statistics can vary based on gender, age, frequency of use, and reason for use. Perhaps the most prevalent reason behind the increasing popularity of social media sites and applications is the accessibility and convenience they provide. Renaissance Ranch understands the desire and need for convenience in today’s society, and has developed an app serving as a one-stop-shop for finding meetings, resources, and support. Are you or someone you care about battling drug or alcohol addiction? Make the decision to seek treatment and begin your journey to recovery. Give Renaissance Ranch a call today at (801) 308-8898 to find out how we can help.