It is very rare nowadays to find someone you know that does not know what social media is. Social media is changing how people connect and communicate and, like most things, has positive and negative aspects. Whether you or someone you know struggles with mental health disorders, it is imperative that individuals best understand how to navigate the complexity of using social media and how it can affect the mental aspect of our health.
The history of social media starts with the history of the internet. The idea for the Internet came from technological optimists such as Joseph C. R. Licklider or the military, hoping to maintain communication networks during an enemy attack. The first social media platform was started in 1995 and was Classmates.com. Facebook followed in 2004 (Baran, 2021).
In a 2022 study titled The window to the world for individuals with mental disorders: A qualitative study about social media, discussion ensued about how individuals with mental disorders evaluate social media, what it means to them, and the effects of social media (Küçük Öztürk, & Özdil, 2022). This study indicated that social media was an essential and positive part of the lives of those afflicted with a mental health diagnosis. Social media helped these individuals reach out for support, share their experiences and connect with others who are similar.
However, according to (Lee et al, 2022), the study’s findings suggest that frequent social media use is associated with poorer subsequent mental health for adolescents. This is not the only study involving adolescents and social media use. Findings in another study titled Adolescent Social Media Use: Pitfalls and Promises in Relation to Cybervictimization, Friend Support, and Depressive Symptoms indicated that associations among the variables in the study show a complex picture regarding both positive and negative associations with adolescents’ active social media use, particularly for females (Fredrick et al, 2022).
With social media becoming more prevalent, informing yourself about its uses and how it affects all ages will keep you better informed about your mental health.
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Baran, S. J. (2021). Introduction to mass communication: Media literacy and culture (11th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
Fredrick, S. S., Nickerson, A. B., & Livingston, J. A. (2022). Adolescent Social Media Use: Pitfalls and Promises in Relation to Cybervictimization, Friend Support, and Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 51(2), 361–376. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1007/s10964-021-01561-6
Lee, S., Lohrmann, D. K., Luo, J., & Chow, A. (2022). Frequent social media use and its prospective association with mental health problems in a representative panel sample of US adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 70(5), 796–803. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.11.029
Küçük Öztürk, G., & Özdil, K. (2022). The window to the world for individuals with mental disorders: A qualitative study about social media. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 39, 20–27. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1016/j.apnu.2022.03.001