Social media: The impact on Mental Health

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Let’s face it. Many of us rely on technology more than we should. I’ll admit that I have a love/hate relationship with it. As a freelance writer and blogger, I rely on social media sites to connect with people and to find out about new opportunities. Now there’s nothing wrong with that but the problem arises when we become ADDICTED, when we feel like we NEED to check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram every minute of every day. The whole concept is a bit mad, though. Instead of having a conversation with people face to face, many of us have replaced this with talking through a screen. How is that preferable?

What’s even worse is social media’s ability to make people feel bad about themselves. We lose who we are when we start manipulating our photos to the point where it doesn’t look like ourselves anymore. If anything it’s sad.

Here’s why:

You’re not being yourself 

What is the one piece of advice that everyone always tells you? Just be yourself.  But are you really being true to yourself by using apps to alter what is real? Most of us probably cannot distinguish what is real and what is not anymore. Here’s a scenario for you. You’ve had a bad day so you turn to Instagram (probably not the best idea, but hey!) and you decide to upload a selfie, which takes waaaay longer than necessary, to let other people know that you are in fact, OK. The truth is you’re not – far from it. But they don’t know that, no, you’ve captioned it with a smile emoji. That obviously means you’re happy. So for a brief moment even you can believe the lie you’ve told everyone else. Of course there is the alternative. You can upload a photo of yourself crying with a glass of red in one hand and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s in the other and caption it ‘I’ve had a shit day’ but no no no, that would be attention seeking. God forbid you show the world the truth.

It can be deceiving 

I remember talking to this girl from my school through Facebook all the time. We had a lot in common and could talk for ages about anything. I started to consider her a friend, well, up until I realised we never actually spoke in person. I’m not exaggerating here – we didn’t say one word to each other. I put it down to both of us being quite shy but it did make me think a bit more about how someone can appear confident online yet be completely different in the real world. It does make sense. When we talk to someone though a screen we don’t have to worry about what our laugh sounds like, if we blurted out the wrong thing, or most importantly what we look like. It can be like a comfort blanket to us, and when it’s taken away, we’re not sure how to react or how to cope without it.

Social media is not accurate

In real life, likes mean absolutely nothing. There’s no filters, no editing and no perfect lighting. That’s what is real. There’s something thing that is better than apps and games – a whole world out there waiting for you to discover what it has to offer. After all you can’t taste a strawberry cheesecake through a screen, you can’t hear the sound of waves splashing against rocks, you can’t play with someone’s dog, or feel someone’s hand. They’re just photographs that people want you to see. A construction of how they want to appear in the virtual world.

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