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At its core, digital media applications, such as social media allow us to connect with others around the globe. We are naturally social beings, and digital media enables us to talk and connect with others that we might not have otherwise been able to. However, now that the initial shine of the internet and social media has worn off, many are finding that it can actually make them feel more isolated and disconnected than they did before.
Every day, more and more people turn to social media to fill a hunger inside of them. They are desperately grasping for ways to see what others are doing and to feel connected to them. Unfortunately, this can lead to negative feelings, such as inadequacy, self-shaming, and isolation. When we see others living supposedly happy, social lives with things we don’t have and looking their best, it can make us feel worse about ourselves.
With mental health on the decline, research is being conducted to determine whether or not digital media use is to blame. With limited samplings, experts claim that further research is necessary, but their preliminary findings show a correlation between negative mental health symptoms and social media use.
Though digital media cannot take all of the blame, studies show that increased social media use does play a part in adverse mental health outcomes, especially among young adults. Most human beings crave connection, so why is digital media—something meant to make connection easier—leading to poor mental health?
While more research is necessary to determine how or why digital media use affects our mental health, many believe that it is related to the negative feelings and experiences associated with increased social media use. These include:
On the flip side, some people become so obsessed with their image and how they look that they become self-absorbed. When all you care about is how you look, you center yourself and lose focus on connections with other people and the world around you.
Of course, digital media use is not all bad. It’s all about balance. Social media is an excellent tool for social connection and even other things like marketing and eCommerce. We simply need to take a more mindful approach to our use of digital media to find a healthier balance, such as limiting our screen time, turning off notifications, and avoiding looking at our phones before bed.
byManuel Alejandro Leon
By setting boundaries and taking a step back, we can begin to enjoy social media again and reap the rewards. There are numerous benefits to digital media, like:
On its own, digital media is simply a tool, but it’s how we use that tool that determines the outcome. If we use it as a tool for good, we can experience all of its many benefits. However, if we abuse it, it can pose a risk to our mental health and cause us to make poor choices and develop toxic behaviors.
If you find that your overall health and well-being are being negatively affected by digital media use, you may need to take a step back and reevaluate the attention and energy you are putting into it. It’s okay to take a break and set boundaries to support your mental health. Setting boundaries allows you to develop more healthy habits surrounding social media use.
Are you interested in the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Training? New Classes begin October 24. Space is limited.