The Cautionary Tale of Social Media

Make sure your DMs arent dragging you down mentally.

Aiden Brown

Make sure your DMs aren’t dragging you down mentally.

Aiden Brown, Writer

Social media has been a staple of our lives since the early 2000s. As humans evolved, so has technology and social media  — for good and for worse. Despite what your parents say, can all of this social media mentally (and maybe physically) hurt you?

Many sites on the world wide web display harmless things like craft ideas, recipes, and items to order. However, social media has taken the global internet stage by storm — from SixDegrees (one of the first social media outlets which lasted from 1997 to the 2000s) to Twitch (an American live streaming service started in 2011).  Present-day social media platforms can cause harm to users by increasing rates of depression, especially when they get users in the habit of comparing their lives to the “advertised” lives of others.

A study from The Child Mind Institute found that fewer than one-half of teens in America with depression used social media more constantly than teens who didn’t have depression. Between 2010 and 2015, the rate of depressive symptoms among teens and the rate of suicide among females increased. Over that same time, there was also a reported increase in college and university students seeking help from therapists about dealing with their depression or anxiety.

 In a recent interview with Amy Simmons, the Access Health therapist at Woodrow Wilson High School, she said, “The number one thing that I can think of (social media affecting) is self-esteem. I see people comparing themselves to others and it makes them think badly about themselves. It really depends on what social media you are on. You should be careful about what you’re on and what you say.” 

With social media being forefront in our culture for over 20 years, the problems it has caused continue, but with problems come solutions. One practical solution, other than unplugging entirely, is cutting down the time spent on social media to under three hours, according to experts.