female friends browsing smartphone on lawn

How Social Media Impact Our Mental Health?


Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have become an essential part of our daily lives in this age of digital connectivity. These platforms are mediums for communication and profoundly influence various aspects of life, from personal relationships to professional networking and global activism. While there are certainly positive aspects to social media, recent studies have unearthed growing concerns about the negative impact of social media on mental health (Lin et al., 2019). This blog explores these issues in detail, shedding light on the risks and offering solutions to mitigate the adverse effects.

Negative Impacts of Social Media

Comparison and Envy

People often showcase a perfect version of their life on social media, which may make others feel inadequate or envious (Chou & Edge, 2012). This constant exposure to others’ success and seemingly perfect lives can foster unhealthy comparisons, resulting in dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms, particularly for those with underlying mental health issues (Kross et al., 2013).

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

FOMO is a well-documented phenomenon related to anxiety stemming from a belief that others may be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent (Przybylski et al., 2013). This compulsion to stay connected has increased stress and anxiety, impacting overall mental well-being and daily functionality.

Cyberbullying and Online Harassment

Cyberbullying and online harassment on social media platforms profoundly affect mental health, including depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010). These experiences can add to feelings of vulnerability and depression, causing lasting trauma in some individuals (Reich, 2010).

Sleep Disruption

The constant accessibility of social media leads to compulsive checking, disrupting sleep patterns (Levenson et al., 2017). Lack of sleep has well-established links to mental health problems like depression and anxiety, leading to a vicious cycle of sleeplessness and emotional instability (Hirshkowitz et al., 2015).

Body Image Concerns

The unrealistic portrayal of body ideals on social media platforms can lead to dissatisfaction, anxiety, and even eating disorders among young adults who are still forming their self-concepts (Perloff, 2014). This has led to significant concerns among mental health professionals and educators.

Addiction and Withdrawal

Social media’s addictive qualities and symptoms of addiction are starting to be recognized by the scientific community (Kuss & Griffiths, 2017). Withdrawal symptoms can further contribute to anxiety and physical symptoms, reducing overall quality of life.

Social Isolation

Contradictory to its intent to connect people, excessive use of social media may lead to feelings of social isolation (Primack et al., 2017). Heavy users report feeling more isolated than those who spend less time online, creating a paradoxical effect of digital connectivity.

Information Overload

The continuous bombardment of information on social media can lead to cognitive overload, causing stress and anxiety (Misra & Stokols, 2012). This overload can impair decision-making and lead to emotional fatigue.

Impact on Relationships

Misunderstandings, jealousy, and conflicts may arise in personal relationships due to the overuse or misuse of social media (Clayton et al., 2013). These issues can lead to the breakdown of critical personal connections.

Detrimental Effect on Academic Performance

The distraction caused by social media during study time negatively affects academic performance, leading to lower grades and reduced focus on educational goals (Rouis et al., 2011).

Increase in Political Polarization

Social media platforms can exacerbate political polarization by creating echo chambers, increasing tension in real-world interactions, and undermining democratic discourse (Bail et al., 2018).

Erosion of Privacy

The over-sharing culture of social media leads to the erosion of personal privacy, causing stress and potentially leading to identity theft or harassment (Debatin et al., 2009).

Promotion of Unhealthy Behaviors

Social media can promote unhealthy behaviors, such as excessive alcohol consumption or disordered eating, leading to long-term health consequences (Hoffman et al., 2014).

Recommendations and Solutions

  1. Education and Awareness: Raising public awareness through campaigns.can foster responsible social media use (Valkenburg et al., 2017). With social media’s increasing influence and impact in our daily lives, it becomes crucial to educate individuals about the potential risks and benefits associated with its use. By promoting digital literacy and providing information about privacy settings, cybersecurity, and the psychological effects of excessive social media use, we can empower users to make informed decisions. Educational initiatives can also encourage critical thinking skills to help users navigate between reliable sources of information and misinformation.
  2. Mental Health Support: Increased mental health support can help those struggling with social media-related issues (Kauer et al., 2012). The rise of social media has brought new challenges to mental well-being. Studies have shown a link between excessive social media use and negative psychological outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Providing accessible mental health resources and support services tailored specifically to social media-related issues can help individuals cope with the pressures and challenges they may experience in the digital realm. This could involve online counseling services, educational campaigns about maintaining a healthy online/offline balance, and tools that promote digital detox and mindfulness.
  3. Platform Responsibility: Social media companies must take action against cyberbullying and misinformation (Gillespie, 2018). As platforms that millions of people rely on for connection and information, social media companies bear a significant responsibility to ensure the well-being of their users. They must actively combat cyberbullying by implementing robust reporting systems, adopting strict community guidelines, and employing advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to identify and mitigate harmful content. Additionally, combating the spread of misinformation is crucial for maintaining the integrity of public discourse. Social media companies should invest in fact-checking mechanisms, algorithmic transparency, and collaboration with reputable fact-checking organizations.
  4. Government Regulation: Protective policies and laws will regulate social media practices (Livingstone & Third, 2017). The complex landscape of social media necessitates effective regulation to protect users’ rights and privacy. Crafting legislation to hold social media companies accountable for their practices is a vital role played by governments. This can include enforcing transparency requirements regarding data collection and usage, addressing issues of online harassment and hate speech, and promoting fair and ethical content moderation standards. It is important to have a positive conversation and work together among governments, social media companies, and civil society organizations to find a balance between protecting individual rights and promoting freedom of expression.
  5. Individual Responsibility: Encouraging personal responsibility in social media use will foster a healthier online environment. While external factors like platform policies and regulations are essential, individual accountability is equally important. Users should be encouraged to engage in self-reflection and self-regulation to ensure positive digital experiences. This can involve consciously setting boundaries for social media usage, practicing respectful online communication, and being mindful of the emotional impact of one’s posts and interactions. By cultivating a culture of empathy, kindness, and critical thinking, individuals can contribute to a more inclusive and healthier online environment for everyone.

Despite the challenges, social media’s positive impacts are notable. Community building (Smith & Anderson, 2018), awareness and activism (Jackson & Foucault Welles, 2016), educational uses (Junco et al., 2011), professional networking (Henderson et al., 2017), and marketing and branding (Freberg et al., 2011) are areas where social media has shown significant benefits.


Social media’s impact on society is multifaceted. Its potential to connect and create positive change is as noteworthy as the negative aspects. A holistic approach, considering both the risks and rewards and involving all stakeholders, can lead to balanced and responsible engagement with these powerful platforms. Together, we can leverage the benefits of social media while responsibly navigating the potential pitfalls.

Home » Social Media

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes


  • Bail, C. A., et al. (2018). Exposure to opposing views on social media can increase political polarization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(37), 9216-9221.
  • Buckingham, D. (2007). Digital media literacies: Rethinking media education in the age of the Internet. Research in Comparative and International Education, 2(1), 43-55.
  • Chou, H. T. G., & Edge, N. (2012). “They are happier and having better lives than I am”: The impact of using Facebook on perceptions of others’ lives. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), 117-121.
  • Clayton, R. B., et al. (2013). The effect of attachment styles on social media use and perceived social media addiction. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1402-1409.
  • Debatin, B., et al. (2009). Facebook and online privacy: Attitudes, behaviors, and unintended consequences. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15(1), 83-108.
  • Freberg, K., et al. (2011). Who are the social media influencers? A study of public perceptions of personality. Public Relations Review, 37(1), 90-92.
  • Gillespie, T. (2018). Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, content moderation, and the hidden decisions that shape social media. Yale University Press.
  • Henderson, A., et al. (2017). The role of employee identification and organizational identity in strategic communication and organizational issues management about genetic modification. International Journal of Business Communication, 54(1), 15-41.
  • Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2010). Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide. Archives of Suicide Research, 14(3), 206-221.
  • Hirshkowitz, M., et al. (2015). National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health, 1(1), 40-43.
  • Hoffman, E. W., et al. (2014). An exploration of the effects of antismoking media content on smokers’ quit-related cognitive and affective processes. Journal of Health Communication, 19(3), 296-310.
  • Jackson, S. J., & Foucault Welles, B. (2016). #Ferguson is everywhere: Initiators in emerging counterpublic networks. Information, Communication & Society, 19(3), 397-418.
  • Junco, R., et al. (2011). The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(2), 119-132.
  • Kauer, S. D., et al. (2012). Self-monitoring using mobile phones in the early stages of adolescent depression: Randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 14(3), e67.
  • Kross, E., et al. (2013). Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults. PloS one, 8(8), e69841.
  • Kuss, D. J., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). Social networking sites and addiction: Ten lessons learned. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(3), 311.
  • Levenson, J. C., et al. (2017). The association between social media use and sleep disturbance among young adults. Preventive Medicine, 85, 36-41.
  • Lin, R., et al. (2019). Health on Instagram: Content Analysis of Health-related Information on an Image-based Social Media Platform. Telematics and Informatics, 43, 101247.
  • Livingstone, S., & Third, A. (2017). Children and young people’s rights in the digital age: An emerging agenda. New Media & Society, 19(5), 657-670.
  • Misra, S., & Stokols, D. (2012). Psychological and health outcomes of perceived information overload. Environment and Behavior, 44(6), 737-759.
  • Perloff, R. M. (2014). Social media effects on young women’s body image concerns: Theoretical perspectives and an agenda for research. Sex Roles, 71(11-12), 363-377.
  • Primack, B. A., et al. (2017). Social media use and perceived social isolation among young adults in the U.S. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(1), 1-8.
  • Przybylski, A. K., et al. (2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1841-1848.
  • Reich, S. M. (2010). Adolescents’ sense of community on MySpace and Facebook: A mixed-methods approach. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(6), 688-705.
  • Rouis, S., et al. (2011). Impact of Facebook usage on students’ academic achievement: Role of self-regulation and trust. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 9(3), 961-994.
  • Smith, A., & Anderson, M. (2018). Social media use in 2018. Pew Research Center, 1, 1-20.
  • Valkenburg, P. M., et al. (2017). The differential susceptibility to media effects model. Journal of Communication, 67(2), 221-243.
  • Wilcockson, T. D., et al. (2018). Determining typical smartphone usage: What data do we need? Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 21(6), 395-398.
multi cultural people

Depression and Anxiety: A Guide for Young Adults 

The mental health landscape continually changes, and young adults are no exception in today’s fast-paced world. Depression and anxiety have become prevalent concerns within this age group (Twenge et al., 2019)[1]. These conditions can cause significant disruptions in daily life and overall well-being, necessitating prompt action to mitigate their effects. 

Depression is defined as feeling sad, hopeless, and uninterested in activities that are used to bring happiness Mayo Clinic, 2021[2], and anxiety, typified by persistent worry, fear, and physical symptoms like excessive sweating and trembling Harvard Health, 2021[3], is not to be taken lightly. If you or someone you know is showing these symptoms, seek professional mental health services immediately.

Thankfully, a myriad of treatment options, such as therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes, are available for those grappling with depression and anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy, has been shown to help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns, subsequently adopting more positive ones Beck Institute, 2020[4].

Moreover, medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – including sertraline, escitalopram, and fluoxetine – have been proven effective for anxiety and depression treatment National Institute of Mental Health, 2020[5]. However, it is essential to remember that these medications should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Engaging in regular physical exercise, consuming a healthy diet, and getting adequate sleep are positive lifestyle changes associated with enhanced mood and decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety Mental Health Foundation, 2021[6].

Keep in mind that depression and anxiety often result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and experiential factors World Health Organization, 2021[7]. It is important to seek specialized assistance to identify these conditions’ underlying causes.

Remember, if you or someone you know is wrestling with depression or anxiety, seeking help is not a sign of weakness—it is a sign of strength. With the proper treatment and support, overcoming these conditions and leading a fulfilling life is a dream and a very attainable reality.

Please note: This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.


  1. Twenge, J.M., Cooper, A.B., Joiner, T.E., Duffy, M.E., & Binau, S.G. (2019). Age, period, and cohort trends in mood disorder indicators and suicide-related outcomes in a nationally representative dataset, 2005–2017. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 128(3), 185-199.
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Depression (major depressive disorder). Mayo Clinic.
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. (2021). Understanding Anxiety. Harvard Medical School.
  4. Beck Institute. (2020). What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)?. Beck Institute.
  5. National Institute of Mental Health. (2020). Mental Health Medications. National Institutes of Health.
  6. Mental Health Foundation. (2021). Diet and mental health. Mental Health Foundation.
  7. World Health Organization. (2021). Depression. World Health Organization.