BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|
On Monday, October 4th, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and Telegram crashed all over the world, a situation that makes us think about the importance of social media in people’s lives. While many people were affected at work, the predominant wider effect was at a personal level: anxiety, fear, and depression. This shows us how social networks influence people’s mental health, creating an imbalance in daily living.
A 2015 Common Sense survey  found that teenagers might spend up to 9 hours each day online. A 2021 study on the linkage between social media and mental health reported that while social media use had a minimal impact on boys’ risk of suicide, girls who used social media for at least 2 hours each day from the age of 13 years had a higher clinical risk of suicide as adults. A study done 3 years ago  concluded that high usage of social media increases feelings of loneliness. It also showed that reducing social media usage helps people feel less lonely and isolated and improves their well-being.
We can see both the positive and negative influences that social networks have in our lives, directly affecting our mental health. For example, according to Pew Research Center, “people talk about themselves in person around 30-40% of the time. On social media, people talk about themselves 80% of the time. Therefore, when they receive a notification of positive feedback, they feel a positive sensation from dopamine”; when they receive no feedback they feel isolated and ignored; and when the feedback is negative, they feel angry and even depressed.
Not everything is negative if we apply some tips to have a better emotional well-being when immersed in the sea of social networks. Use social media to create in-person meetings, avoid doomscrolling, stay present and connected in real life, choose kindness, use online platforms and resources to help promote good mental health and wellbeing, protect yourself and others online and, if you think you have emotions that you cannot control, visit a mental health professional. Together, we can create a healthy trend in the real world.