Humans crave social interaction more than most things. We enjoy seeing our friends and family, and we want to be validated by our various peers. When the internet became commonplace, we began to see the rise of social media – websites that allow us to connect with others in our lives from behind a screen, usually allowing us to share photos and make posts where we share our thoughts and feelings. What started as a new craze quickly became the norm in our society, with practically everyone joining sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Social media holds a lot of power in our lives, and it can have both positive and negative impacts on our mental wellbeing without us even realizing it.
Having physical interaction with people is always going to be the healthiest way of socializing with others. But people are busy in our modern world, and oftentimes we cannot take the time or live too far away from our loved ones to see them. This is where social media becomes useful. It allows us to keep in touch with loved ones we wouldn’t normally be able to. Outside of that, social media has allowed people to meet new friends and join entire communities of likeminded individuals – such as people playing a video game together or all being fans of the same podcast. Social media also provides us with a way to express ourselves or find emotional support in difficult times.
While social media can provide so many great things, it also has the ability to negatively affect our mental health. For example, seeing other individuals’ lifestyles may make you feel like yours is inadequate, making you ultimately feel like you’re not good enough. Another common issue with social media is cyberbullying. The unfortunate truth is that people on the Internet can be cruel, and that cruelty has the potential to cause serious mental harm to the people that it’s targeted at. These and other negative aspects of social media can and have had dramatic impacts on individuals, so it’s important to keep social media use under control and know how to distance yourself from it when needed.
What matters most of all is that users understand their own relationship with social media and how it impacts their lives. Some people don’t have any care for social media and avoid it altogether, while others are constantly online. It’s okay to love social media as long as you understand your own limits and where to draw the line.
For more information, visit New Horizon Counseling Center’s website.