Social media is used by 1 in 4 people around the world. The very first email was sent in the early 1970’s, and nobody back then expected how the internet and eventually social media would take hold the way it has. There are some indications according to Medical News Today and other publications that social media may be affecting mental health and the well being of the users.
As a matter of fact, there are some researchers that will take things one step further and say that social media not only plays a role in our mental health… but that it also has an impact on our well being. Facebook leads the pack in social media so much of the research conducted thus far has focused on how Facebook plays a role in general well being. Facebook and other social media applications have over 1.2 billion global users every month that are log in and checking on their pages.
On average Americans spend about seven hours a week checking on their social media sites. 60% of American Facebook users check their account daily while 40% check their account multiple times each day. The truth is that most people that have smart phones stay logged in all day everyday and respond instantly to “likes” and “posts”. Most people post daily on their Facebook.
So what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that thanks to social media there is an onset of potential addictions on the rise.
Someone even created a scale to measure Facebook addiction: The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS). The scale uses 6 criteria to determine if someone has a problem with social media.
It has been discovered that people that are socially insecure or more anxious are more likely to use social media as an outlet. The problem is that over 50% of users when asked report that social media has changed their behavior in a negative way. 55% of users report feeling worried or uncomfortable after using a social media site. It can interfere with sleep patterns as well.
90% of adolescents report that they have witnessed cyber bullying on social media.
On the Upside:
There is some indication when social media is used as intended, to connect to people and it is used in small doses, social media can actually improve happiness! Feelings of well being and belonging can increase when using social media. It can also help people to feel less isolated.