Mental Health Day 2023: Is social media a major reason for the poor mental health among Gen Z and millennial

by Aditya Kumar

The Impact of Social Media on Youth Mental Health

Imagine a day without scrolling through posts and reels on Instagram or sharing memes with friends. In our daily routines, checking what’s happening in other people’s lives and sharing about our own has become one of the most important things to follow. However, it is crucial to understand that what we see on social media is often a curated version of people’s lives – a “highlight reel” of their best moments. This does not necessarily mean that everything we see is true or real.

The constant need to portray a picture-perfect life, the fear of missing out (FOMO), and cyberbullying can all cause severe mental stress among young people. In some cases, it can even lead to suicidal tendencies. Social media not only affects mental health negatively but can also be addictive, leading to anti-social behavior, addiction, and social anxiety. To control the impact of social media on young people’s lives, it is essential to set boundaries, and parents and educators need to initiate open dialogues and educate youngsters about digital well-being.

Every coin has two sides – one positive and one negative. While social media platforms have brought about many positive aspects such as connectivity and information sharing, they also come with potential drawbacks that can affect mental well-being, especially among the younger generation. Young people are highly exposed to these platforms, chasing overnight fame and success.

Despite the many ways in which social media allows us to connect with others, the nature of those interactions can lead to more disconnection than connection in real life. It is becoming a notion among the younger generation that they are virtually connected, which somehow protects them from loneliness. However, it’s important to understand that this is not always the case. Striking a balance between online and offline activities is crucial for preserving youth mental health in the age of social media.

There are many issues that can arise from social media usage, but we must not forget that it also has transformative potential. It can be a place for fostering connections, encouraging empathy, and promoting social activism. However, it is necessary to educate young people about the ill effects of being always connected, so they can take control of their consumption and attention.

Adolescence has always been a challenging phase of life for all, regardless of social media. It’s a period when depression, loneliness, and anxiety surface among youth. That is why they often spend most of their time on social media to avoid feeling lonely and anxious.

The excessive use of social media leads to addiction-like behaviors that affect daily routines and inadvertently impact mental well-being. Setting time limits and promoting offline activities can facilitate more human interactions and help individuals realize the difference between curated online personas and real life.

The issue of increasing social media usage among young people and its impact on their mental health is not a one-dimensional problem. As we navigate this new era of digitalization, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that young people are equipped with the resilience and skills to thrive, both online and offline.

In a world that encourages materialism and applauds only success, it is important to pause and appreciate everything we have achieved and survived so far. Our inability to manage our own thoughts and emotions, and the overindulgence in social media, need to be addressed. We should focus on connecting with ourselves and promoting mental well-being.

In conclusion, while social media has its benefits, it is essential to be aware of the potential negative impact it can have on mental health, especially among young people. By setting boundaries, educating young people, and promoting offline activities, we can ensure that social media is used responsibly and does not negatively affect mental well-being.

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