Analysis Of The Connection Between Social Media And Depression Among Teenagers
The upbringing of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and many more in this era has redefined our way of life in so many ways. In these platforms, we can portray ourselves as an whole new alias where people perceive us only through this websites. While some groups of people argue that social media has benefit us a lot like conveying current news happening around the world, a lot of people believe that social media has undeniably cause negative effects toward the mental health of the society especially the teenagers. Based on a study by The Royal Society of Public Health (2017) on 1,500 research participants aged 11-25, Snapchat and Instagram is the most likely to spark the feelings of depressed and inadequacy. Seven out of ten said that Instagram make them feel insecure about their appearance while You tube has the most positive effects towards them. Thus, this research paper is conducted to analyze the connection between social media and depression among teenagers.
Daniel Nations, a tech journalist from Lifewire.com stated that rather than trying to understanding social media as a whole we can understand it better by breaking it down to simpler parts which are social and media respectively. Social means the interaction between a group of people where they share and receive information between them. On the other hand, media refers to a medium of communication for instance the internet while TV, radio and newspaper are examples of a more traditional form of media. Hence, we can conclude that social media is an internet-based communication engine that enables people to connect with each other by both sharing and receiving information .
Depression is a serious mental disorder which causes serious symptoms that affects how you feel, think and your everyday actions. According to Angelos Halaris, MD, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and the medical director of adult psychiatry at the Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, “depression is more than just a sad mood.” There are 9 types of depression but excluding ones that are from specific factors such as giving birth and premenstrual for woman than that leaves 7 types of depression which are major depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder, atypical depression, psychotic depression and bipolar disorder. Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may include, failing to feel the pleasure in activities once enjoyed, changes of appetite and increased fatigues.
Ways social media is causing depression
On social media, what teenagers post is only a fraction of their real life. This implies that they have the power to choose what to portray on social media follow their preference hence, creating a whole new persona on social media that depicts their desired life. Most of the time, the teenagers will post only good moments in their everyday lives. Without them realizing, this creates a feeling of the need to always maintain their image online and this profound pressure leads them to feel stress and depressed. On the other hand, teenagers as the followers may see someone else is very happy and living it up through their online posts. This will lead them to feel boring and inadequacy by comparison. These two core relation in social media is synthesizing a never ending cycle of parasitism which result in both ends feel depressed.
Cyberbullying can occur through emails, private messages, public comment on posts and many more. These messages can be in form of insults or physical threat. Because of this, the victim of cyberbullying tends to experience depression which symptoms may include sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, academic decline, feeling of not belonging and suicidal thoughts and behavior which is the most dangerous. According to Nancy Willard, author of Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Aggression, Threats, and Distress, “the effects of cyberbullying may be more damaging than in-school bullying because cyberbullied children do not have the opportunity to escape the harassment. Due to the anonymous nature of some Internet harassment, victims may not be able to identify their harasser and feel that everyone is against them.” Based on what Mental health charity Young Minds discovered, while fewer teenagers had reported online bullying (37%) than offline bullying (47%). However, the majority of the teenagers (83%) felt that social media firms should do more to tackle the problem. Manipulating self-image and cyberbullying are the two main causes of depression to teenagers via social media.
Referring to a study by Business Insider 2016, the number of teenagers experiencing a major depressive episodes because of social media has inclined by 37% between 2005 and 2014. In the past five years the number of depression and suicide cases among teenagers had arisen dramatically. Therefore, based on these statistics we can see that social media carry a huge factor for the rise in teen depression.
The effects of depressing from social media
Sleep deprivation and narcissism
Referring to a study by University of Glasgow, many teenagers are prone to invest their time in social media and are so worried about missing out on posts that they log on until late night in order to get updates, leading to sleep deprivation. Depriving from sleep on the other hand will cause the teenagers to forget information associated with positive emotions. Thus, the teenagers will be more prone with negative traits like sadness and loss of interest in normal daily activities. Next, with the trend of everyone wants to portray their perfect self on social media, they began to develop narcissism in which they admire their own physical appearance. Many scholars consider narcissism as a depressive illness.
Effects of Cyberbullying
The potential outcome from cyberbullying is that the victim is prone to find solution to avoid and end the negative comments on them. The worse solution that had been filed is self-harm and suicide. Based on statistics brought out by Drapeau & McIntosh, 2015, suicide is the 2nd ranking cause of death for individuals 15-24 years of age – homicides ranked 3rd. Teenagers also tends to skip school to avoid meeting perpetrator.
Ways to overcome depression among teenagers cause by social media.
Parental support and guidance
The most effective way to curb this issue is by the involvement of parents. Believe it or not, teenagers does want parent’s support and guidance but it is because of their fear that parents would take extreme measures that they do not like for example if they tell their parents that they are being bullied on social media, they’ll lose their internet access.
Seeking professional help.
According to Dr Rangan Chatterjee, a general practitioner (GP), a simple solution to curb depression among teenagers cause by social media is teens should limit their usage of media social. Teenagers should gradually wean off from social media for example for the first week constricting only 2 hours on social media and then proceeding with one hour the next following week. Teenagers should also stop the self-negative self-talk. Because of comparing themselves with other people in social based on their physical appearance they can be depressed. Thus, they should stop this negative comparison and should start to learn to self-love.
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