The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health and Self-Esteem of Internet Users

Introduction

Now and then, individuals are reminded about the adverse effects of social media on their mental health and self-esteem. Many scholars have explored the impact of social media on internet users’ mental health by measuring their behavior change over a specified period. In this regard, social media has been linked to the ability to cause anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts triggered by specific activities on social platforms. Cyberbullying and online stalking have become a common practice on various social media platforms because of individuals’ ability to exploit the anonymous feature associated with the different social media tools. Likewise, social media negatively affects internet users’ self-esteem by exposing them to different scenarios that interfere with their communication experience. Therefore, social media has led to the deterioration of mental health and many of its users’ self-esteem.

The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Given the role of social media today, many individuals have recorded different experiences that define their perspectives towards life. While a section of the world’s population uses social media to enrich their communication experience, others have suffered due to their excessive use of technological platforms. Notably, excessive social media use leads to anxiety, depression, and loneliness, which encourage individuals to entertain suicidal thoughts. From this observation, internet users’ ability to portray a different aspect of their life online has a far-reaching implication on the perspectives of other individuals (Thapa & Subedi, 2018). For instance, young people are more likely to succumb to peer pressure because of the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), conveyed through the different posts shared online. Therefore, when one starts experiencing a certain level of inadequacy about their life, they withdraw from the public and become depressed because of their inability to sustain a specific way of life.

Face to face interactions is healthy for the sustainability of individuals because of their identity as social beings. Correctional facilities deploy punitive measures such as total lockdown to hardcore criminals to break them and mold their perspectives towards life. Given their previous identity, correctional facilities cannot change their behavior because of their internal resistance that defies any attempts to introduce change in their immediate environment (Fan, Jiang, Deng, Dong, & Lin, 2020). However, locking them down reveals their vulnerabilities and transforms them into ordinary human beings who value an interactive session that can yield positive outcomes. From this perspective, social media limits the face to face engagements, which may cause anxiety and severe depression among individuals. The more people prioritize social media interactions, the more they are on the verge of suffering from the adverse effects of social media on their mental health.

The Impact of Social Media on Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is an individuals’ ability to believe in themselves when interacting with other people in their surroundings. In this regard, words of encouragement from other people and the validation of opinions play a significant role in enhancing the self-esteem of individuals in the world today. While the same outcome can be achieved through social media interactions where people acknowledge personal efforts to perform a specific goal, people cannot ascertain the authenticity of their wishes. Whenever other people are winning, and an individual is stagnating in their career growth and development, their social media posts can quickly lower a person’s self-esteem levels (Bhat, 2017). For instance, Sandra attended the same law school as Jennifer has opened her law firm, which is doing well. However, Jennifer is still working for Law Firm X and is always assigned the minor cases since she is a rookie. Since Sandra is outspoken and shares her achievements online, Jennifer has started to evaluate her professional life. By analyzing this case, one can quickly establish that Jennifer’s self-esteem levels might deteriorate because of the oversharing done by her friend, whom they graduated together. Thus, social media has a far-reaching impact on the self-esteem of internet users because of the nature of the information they consume online.

Conclusion

Social media has led to the deterioration of mental health and the self-esteem of many of its users because of the nature of information consumed by individuals online. Importantly, social media is supposed to enhance communication quality between individuals because of the different features that facilitate the exchange of information. However, overconsumption of social media information exposes individuals to various scenarios that affect their mental health and self-esteem. Even though scholars have recommended adopting different measures to overcome anxiety and depression, individuals should regulate their time across various social media platforms. Cyberbullying and online stalking are some of the social media outcomes that expose individuals to a series of events, which interfere with their mental health and self-esteem. Based on individuals’ ability to contain their emotions and interactions online, social media poses an imminent threat that influences the power of internet users to achieve their desired goals and objectives.

 

 

References

Bhat, S. (2017). Social networking sites and mental health: a review. International Journal of Advanced Educational Research2(5), 357-360.

Fan, X., Jiang, X., Deng, N., Dong, X., & Lin, Y. (2020). Does role conflict influence discontinuous usage intentions? Privacy concerns, social media fatigue, and self-esteem. Information Technology & People.

Thapa, R., & Subedi, S. (2018). Social Media and Depression. Journal of Psychiatrists’ Association of Nepal7(2), 1-4.

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