Is Social Media Harmful to Young Adults’ Mental Health?

Is Social Media Harmful to Young Adults Mental Health?

Ayah Mufleh, Sophomore Staff Writer

Social media–or the digital world altogether–has, over time, become an integral part of our society. It allows us to build new connections, fuel our interests, and have access to limitless entertainment. Behind all of this good, however, are risks. Risks to one’s privacy, self-esteem, health, and all-around well-being. After all, we’ve already discovered that social media has been putting a negative impact on everyone’s mental health–but it’s destroying our youths.

Knowing that social media can bring people together and instill happiness, yet be the root of most mental health issues, is a frightening contradiction. With that, even though it is imperative to dive into this, there is no use in doing so without explaining what the common signs and symptoms are of unhealthy social media use, along with what steps should be taken to solve it. Here’s a breakdown:


What Should I Look For?

Whether you are self-assessing or attempting to help someone else there are several things to look out for.  For instance, “anxiety is the number one negative side effect of social media use” (“6 In 10 Americans Say Social Media…”). At Hubbard High High School, sophomore Ava Flowers describes social media using the terms “overwhelming” and “draining”. Following up by saying that “social media often causes me to fall down this rabbit hole of consuming the media’s toxicity, and once I do, it becomes incredibly difficult to disconnect from it.” Freshman Eli Barr, responds similarly by stating, “Even though I still use social media, at times, having it doesn’t even seem worth it because of the stress that comes with it.” 

 Depression, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts are other effects directly tied to too much social media intake. Self-absorption is also another prominent sign that isn’t commonly mentioned. Although there is still an apparent stigma surrounding mental health, never feel hesitant to reach out, and stay observant in looking for signs in other people. Through doing this, you are of course either helping them or yourself, but ultimately help to break the stigma. 

What are the Solutions?

It is important to first mention that you will never have to give up the use of social media entirely in order to have a healthy relationship with it. Instead, we will look at taking the approach of having moderation, as there is so much power within it. Moderation is defined as the behavior of handling things in a way that is reasonable and not excessive. You may be asking, “how does one have moderation when it comes to social media?”, and editors explain how it could be done in one of these four ways: One, by deleting the social media apps from your phone – not deactivating but delete to avoid the constant urge to refresh and re-enter the app. Two, leaving devices at home to make living in the moment easier. Three, Disabling notifications. Four, setting time limits on how much screen time you get for specific apps. Staying consistent with at least one or all of these four tips will contribute to making a difference and developing a healthy relationship with social media.

Overall, now that we’ve taken the first step in acknowledging the harmful effects social media places on the mental health of young adults, we must take the next step of realizing that there is in fact a way to establish a healthy balance between you and your social media use. In doing this, emphasizing the power of moderation is crucial as it is the most efficient way to create that balance. Remember, you do not have to neglect or sacrifice anything to experience the things you enjoy.