Regardless of what media you use (social, TV, radio, newspaper), being intentional with your usage can go a long way in combating mental health challenges with media.
- Unwanted content spoiling our time
- Unwanted influences which affect your routine or yourself
- Leaving behind the real use of digital connectivity due to constant deviation towards activities which are not going to help in anyway
- Mind disturbance
- Leaving behind the real hang our with friends/families/colleagues
Carl Manson Jr., PMP
This can become very dangerous especially around important topics that affect our entire society. It can be very hard to see all sides of a discussion or an argument on a social media platform that is built to show you things that you already like/agree with. So it makes you start to feel that everything you read is the only truth, because that's all you ever see - and you see it from so many people and different sources. However, what you don't see is an entire other point of view (or multiple ones) because the algorithms are created to keep you coming back, and they have no idea if those points of view will keep you on their platform and keep you engaged.
There's a great documentary on Netflix called "The Social Dilemma". I encourage you to check it out, it'll give you more insights into how this feedback loop works on these platforms.
1. Depression and Anxiety
Do you spend several hours per day browsing through social media? Spending too long on social networking sites could adversely affect your mood. In fact, chronic social users are more likely to report poor mental health, including symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Before social media, bullying was something that was only possible to do face-to-face. However, now people can bully others online—anonymously or not. Today everyone knows what cyberbullying is, and most of us have seen what it can do to a person.
3. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a phenomenon that became prominent around the same time as the rise of social media. Unsurprisingly, it's one of the most widespread negative effects of social media on society.
4. Unrealistic Expectations
As most people are probably aware, social media forms unrealistic expectations of life and friendships in our minds.
Most social media sites have a severe lack of online authenticity. People use Snapchat to share their exciting adventures, post about how much they love their significant other on Facebook, and load up their Instagram page with heavily staged photos.
5. Negative Body Image
Speaking of Instagram celebrities, if you look at popular Instagram accounts, you'll find unbelievably beautiful people wearing expensive clothes on their perfectly shaped bodies.
And to nobody's surprise, body image is now an issue for almost everyone. Of course, seeing so many people who are supposedly perfect (according to society's standards) on a daily basis makes you conscious about how different you look from those pictures. And not everyone comes to healthy conclusions in this situation.
As with everything else, there are good and bad aspects of social media. We've discussed some of the negative impacts social media has for many, but you're the one who must decide whether there's more help or harm in it for you personally.
If you find that social media is having a negative impact on your life, stop using it. However, if you decide to stay, there are ways to waste less time on social media, and thus maintain a healthier relationship with it.
If you are talking from a consumer pov, the biggest challenge is online internet safety. Online predators are a huge issue and social media is one of the big ways they are using. There needs to be more knowledge spread on this issue, and stricter measure put in place to protect our most vulnerable age group, children.
I read somewhere that it takes us receiving 18 positive comments to overcome the effects of a single negative comment. If we consider the types of comments that are included in most social media posts, I think it's safe to say that more often than not, there is not an 18:1 ratio of positive to negative comments. We have the ability to continuously bear witness to commentary that brings our mental state down rather than up. I may not feel immediately bad by a group of comments or a single session on social media. However, I think of it as "death by a thousand cuts." Overtime those comments add up and I don't think we yet know the consequences or longevity of the effects that continuous exposure to other peoples' opinions can have on us. Is it healthy to have the ability to constantly form an opinion on every small thing we see, hear, and read? I'm not sure it is. I think it creates a habit of reacting instead of absorbing and thinking through what we see, hear, and read. One other person commented to your question that we have to be intentional with these things and how we respond and I really cannot agree more with that statement.
As mentioned in other answers, there are also several considerations or impacts social media can bring
-impact to mental health
-replacing face to face connections
-be careful about what you share/comments you make - everything you do is visible - employers often search social media platforms on prospective employees