Social Media’s Impact on Well-being

Chiara Böhnke, Staff Writer

Many of us use social media on a daily basis, and it allows us to stay connected. We know, though, that excessive use may fuel feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation and even create a fear of missing out, also referred to as FOMO.

Humans are social creatures who crave interaction with others in order to thrive. Online connections impact our mental health and happiness, both consciously and subconsciously. On the one hand, social media has the power to boost our self-confidence, provide comfort, create joy and even prevent loneliness, but it can also induce anxiety, stress, feelings of loneliness and even lead to depressive episodes.

It is important to note that whilst social media does have many benefits, it is not able to replace real face-to-face interactions.

Some of the positive aspects of social media include:

  • Enables communications with others in different locations
  • Staying up to date on global news and events
  • Raising awareness on important topics and issues
  • It provides an outlet for self-expression and creativity
  • Provides emotional support during difficult phases and creates a support system

Some of the negative aspects of social media include:

  • It’s easy to spend more time on social media, rather than communicating with people in the real word (face-to-face)
  • Unrealistic comparisons with beauty ideals, can lower self-esteem or result in a negative body image. This can further lead disordered eating and other mental health issues.
  • Potential for cyberbullying
  • Constantly feeling distracted both at school, home or work, through the constant pressure to stay up to date on friend’s posts etc.
  • Having no time for self-reflection or just living in the moment

Enforcing social media breaks, or even trying a social media detox can be useful in separating our real-life connections from our online presence. It is easy to get lost in the endless world of social media and the internet. Setting social media aside is a great opportunity to nurture real connections and relationships.