Social media sadness
Are you a social media addict? Are you always checking your smartphone to see how many 'likes' you've received for your latest post? Maybe you feel comforted by the notification sound that someone has sent you a message?
Don't worry, you're not alone. We check our phones an average of 150 times a day, and around 30% of the total time spent online is dedicated to social media. Some experts now fear this habit could be damaging our mental health.
This is something particularly afflicting young adults, according to a study from the University of Pittsburgh. It found the more they used social media, the more likely they are to be depressed. In tests, those people who checked social media frequently were 2.7 times more likely to be depressed compared to those who spent most of their time generally surfing the internet, who had just 1.7 times the risk. The study found that exposure to "highly idealised representations of peers on social media elicits feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier, more successful lives."
Some of us certainly feel sad when we're ignored on social media sites, or when we see someone else having a better time than us. But depression is a more serious condition and clinical psychologist, Abigael San, recently told the BBC that, "It's a real issue, and it's been getting significantly worse over the last 5-6 years. You can get so hooked that it takes you away from your real relationships." However, Abigael does admit that social media is more likely to exacerbate pre-existing issues than directly cause them.
Other research by Glasgow University found that teenagers are affected by the 24-hour demands of their social media accounts. It found that those with higher levels of emotional investment in social media, and who use it at night, were more likely to feel depressed and anxious.
Despite these warning signs, why do some of us continue to keep clicking? Well, I suppose we all want to be liked and we don't want to miss out on a conversation that's taking place online. But we need to know when to switch off our virtual online world and connect with the real world instead.
virtual online world