Using Facebook or Instagram may be linked to psychological disorders. Several different surveys and studies have been conducted to prove this.
However, something shocking has surfaced from the research, which shows that psychiatric illnesses in young people are linked to extreme consumption of social media.
The Royal Society of Public Health conducted a survey in 2017. The results demonstrated that Britons aged between 14 and 24 believed that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter had harmful effects on their life.
These youngsters believed that social media gave them more opportunities for self-expression. However, they also admitted that using these platforms increased anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation. They also exposed them to cyber-bullying and made them worry about their body image (body-shaming).
Academic studies have found that these problems are more severe among frequent users. Even Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker, has admitted that the product works by “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology”.
This was further supported by an experiment by five neuroscientists in 2014 which concluded that Facebook triggers the same impulsive part of the brain that is commonly associated with gambling and substance abuse. However, it is difficult to prove that a person can be addicted to likes and followers in the same way as one does with marijuana, cocaine or other addictive products.
The closest survey that acknowledged this psychiatric problem was conducted between 2013 and 2015, with up to 5,208 Americans tracked as part of it. The findings of the survey concluded that an increase in Facebook activity was associated with a decrease in reported mental health.
- Nearly 63% Instagram users report being miserable (with the highest misery rate among social networks)
- The remaining 37% of the people are relatively happy given their decreased social media use.
- One of the highest happiness rates was found among FaceTime users.
One of the obvious solutions to this problem is to cut down on screen time spent browsing social media networks. Furthermore, data from Moment, an activity-tracking app, showed that users who spent less time on social media were content and happier. When it comes to social interaction and social networking nothing beats actual conversations.
Via The Economist