It’s not a shock to most of us that the heavy use of social media platforms can be detrimental to our mental health. Specifically for young people, social media platforms can be not only addictive but taxing on their mental state. Many people argue that social media companies understand the dangers to people yet continue using algorithms that are designed to get users to continue clicking, with a goal of maximum time spent on the platforms for increased advertising purposes and profits. And while a lot can be said for social media used responsibly, including maintaining connections and opportunities to share and learn, data shows that using social media has a definite effect on our mental health.
With the increasing number of wrongful death lawsuits being filed against the parent companies of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat and the claim that Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — was fully aware that teens suffer mental health issues as a direct result of their product, you may wonder what users should be doing to protect not only their own mental health but that of the young people in their lives.
Many professionals suggest simply taking a break from the never-ending social media scrolling.
A UK study released in May found that taking just one week off of social media improved individuals’ overall level of well-being, along with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. Actor Tom Holland recently announced he’ll be taking a break from social media to focus on his mental health, calling the platforms “overstimulating” and “overwhelming.”
Ask yourself if you are:
- Opening your apps and scrolling without realizing
- Comparing your life to those you’re seeing on social and suddenly feeling dissatisfied or inadequate
- Feeling annoyed by everything you see
- Getting anxious when you haven’t checked your feed in a while
If you answered yes, it’s probably time to take a break and unplug from social media – for you and your mental health.