Social Media and Mental Health
By Tina Blacksmith

It seems nowadays everywhere you look, people are on their phones. I’ve only had a cell phone for a little over a year now, and before I got one I used to call people “phone zombies”.

You can probably guess why. People walk across streets with their heads down, scrolling through Facebook. Too many people take numerous selfies for Instagram, worrying about finding the best lighting and posing just right. It’s embarrassing to admit I have done both of these things. I decided to write this piece about social media and mental health to open a dialogue about this problem.

Now I See Why People Get Addicted

Before I got my phone, I always wondered how people could become addicted to cell phones. I always said I would never be that person. Now I see that it is way too easy to get addicted.

We do posts on Facebook, and we feel important when someone likes or comments on those posts. After losing a few pounds, when someone comments “you look great now!” we feel better because it’s a self-esteem booster. But what happens when no one likes our photos or leaves a comment? We often get depressed, and we don’t feel as important as everyone else.

Instagram Can Be Bad for Our Mental health

Instagram, in my opinion, is particularly bad when it comes to social media and mental health. The site is photo-based, so it’s hard not to play the comparison game. There are tons of accounts featuring photos of ripped abs, stunning makeup tutorials, and vacations to beautiful countries.

People show off their expensive clothes and shoes, while some show off all the things they get for free because of their following. There are people with millions and millions of followers, and some accounts get thousands upon thousands of comments.

Now imagine not being one of these people. Imagine being someone who can’t afford to buy a $60 tube of lipstick or travel to Italy because they don’t get free trips.

I Believe Social Media Can Be Good

Social media can be good, and there are several mental health YouTube channels. There are inspirational people on Facebook and Instagram as well. However, the bad comes when we inevitably compare what we have or don’t have, to what others have or don’t have. It harms us when we don’t have the money to travel all over the world like some people do. Harm can be done when we find it hard to be happy with our own lives, and when we’re constantly scrolling, looking at everyone else. It can be painful to compare ourselves to others, instead of focusing on what is good in our own lives.

Taking a Walk Sounds Better than Exploring Social Media

I feel like I need a break from social media, and I want to stop wasting my time using the “Explore” feature on Instagram. It is important to me to stop spending hours of my day on Facebook.

Instead I want to read or draw or take a walk, and just live without my phone constantly in my hand.

Reproduced with permission, originally published here

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