Have any of you ever sat down and asked yourself, “Why am I so depressed (or anxious)?” Even if you have dozens and dozens of friends online, have you ever come to the realization that your lack of social connection and real relationships could be the cause? Social media is starting to be cast in a new light that only seems to darken the lives of its users. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States, of which one-half are also diagnosed with depression.
Social media has taken the world by storm—but it’s also caused a storm of chaos in our lives and in the way we relate not only to each other but to ourselves as well.
About 1.4 billion people use Facebook worldwide, and in the United States alone we spend an average of 7.6 hours per month online. New studies show we get the same kind of buzz from a Facebook “like” as we do from a shot of alcohol.
So we’re addicted. It’s a simple as that. Our generation is forgetting how to live in a world without technology and phones and social media. We can’t attend one event without posting it all over our social networking pages—only posting the best photos of course. We have an irresistible need to brag and show our “friends” and followers what our latest purchase or night out was.
Our lives look so much better on the Internet. Nothing can compare. It’s a false sense of reality, even though it seems real. Most of the stuff we see online is far too good to be true. Our friends’ lives can’t be as spectacular as they make it seem. And why weren’t we invited? These thoughts take over our brain, its no wonder our millennial has higher rates of mental illness than ever before.
We need to take a step back and ask ourselves why we are using social media. And yes, it can have some positive affects on our life. It can even make communication simple—that is, of course, if we use it in the right way. Balance must be found between our online interactions and face-to-face relationships. Our days must not be spent wasting away time behind a computer or phone screen. If you are out with friends and family, get off of those pesky sites and enjoy the moments instead of trying to capture them.
Our lives seem to be circled around what we post on the web and how many “likes” we get. We’ve gotten so caught up in making sure that we present that right image of ourselves that a psychologist has come up with a term for it. Turkle calls it “presentation anxiety,” making sure we associate ourselves with a “cool” identity. Not only that but we feel pressured to keep up with the constant posts of our hundreds of friends and begin to neglect the in person relationships. If we aren’t constantly updating and being updated, then what are we doing with our lives?
Just like the old saying goes, “you are what you eat,” maybe we should update that to, “you are what you tweet.”
Luckily some people have begun to catch on to the harmful affects that come from social networks.
If only we could make everyone more aware of what is being done to us.
AsapSCIENCE. “5 Crazy Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Brain Right Now.” Online Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube, 7 Sept. 2014. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.
Choate, Laura. Adolescent Girls in Distress: A Guide for Mental Health Treatment and Prevention. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2014. Print.
“Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA.” Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. N.p. n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.
I Wasted Too Much Time on Facebook Today. 2012. Jokideo. Image. Web. 27 Nov. 2014.
“Social Networking Statistics.” Statistic Brain. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2014.
South, Marisa. Don’t Let Social Media Steal Your Happiness. 2014. seoWorks. Image. Web. 27 Nov. 2014.
Such, Jay (JaySuch). “I’m really looking forward to the next cool social media app that causes me depression because I seek the validation of strangers.” 25 Feb. 2013, 6:17 a.m. Tweet.