Social media is a driving force in our society. I have stated such already and no one can contest that idea. There is so much money, networking, and opportunity that can be gained from utilizing social media. Alas, there is a cesspool of negativity that comes from it that effects people of all walks. Young people are especially susceptible to the envy and jealousy that social media can spread. I have noticed that social media sites generally don’t try to lessen the effects, instead granting users freedom to post whatever and stuffing the show offs in your face. For the younger audience, especially younger women, this can foster low self-esteem and a lower sense of self worth due to illogical comparison and coveting what other people have. Instagram and Facebook are two of the bigger sites where the effects of social media can be seen and measured.
The above is a twitter poll where an overwhelming 92.1% of voters voted that social media is unhealthy for teens. 92.1%! This is a big issue that has been having a snowball effect for years. This can be seen clearly with the latest trends (body alteration, filters, the rise in scamming, etc) Most of these trends are unfortunate people artificially changing themselves or their situation to show off to the other people on the platform. This way of thinking and way of living is not the appropriate way to foster positive mental health in our society. According to internal research done by Facebook into their own platform, the site causes body issues in one in three girls who use the site. 32% of girls that use the site said that it made them feel even worse about their already ongoing body issues. This is absolutely alarming and needs to be taken much more seriously. Young people as a whole state that Instagram (and by extension Facebook and other sites) increase their feelings of anxiety and depression. I know that people have a freedom to post what they want and to interpret what they see how they want but nevertheless this is a problem with a increasing ripple effect. As it stands now, succeeding generations of youth will be more and more effected mentally by the “pandemic” that is social media.
I like how Facebook can do internal research and be aware of these findings, yet in our face they want to act like their platform has little effect on the mentality of it’s users. A large number of people blame instagram for feeling “unattractive”, comparing themselves to “instagram models” and celebrities who have done questionable things in the pursuit of success and popularity. This is fuckery at the highest level and its maddening how Facebook just continues to operate without trying to consider the effect it’s having on us. “It’s just business”, right? It won’t be when the suicide rate continues to climb. It won’t be when the public’s majority opinion is that we are not worthy enough compared to fake people.
I have detailed ways to improve mental health and will continue to as long as I draw breath. These companies need to also take accountability and be more transparent about these kinds of findings. Mental health professionals can use the findings to alter practices to help the users of these sites. The general public can use these findings to have a better idea of what is really going on to protect our loved ones and monitor our usage more. Facebook cannot conduct this research and then want to gaslight the world into believing that the effect is miniscule. There is a growing effect on people all over from social media use. If this research is being conducted, there needs to be action taken from the findings. Our collective future depends on it!