When we talk about negative effects of using or abusing social media, most often we mean teenagers and even younger children who are not able to understand some of the mechanisms governing these applications. This often leads to anxiety, depression and other psychological problems, which is why it is these most vulnerable groups that we try to protect.
But it looks like we should also focus on ourselves, because knowing how social media works is clearly not enough to use it safely. As it follows from the recently published research in which over 5,000 participants took part (average age 56), depression induced by visual media such as Instagram or TikTok, it also does not bypass adults.
The surveys conducted between last May and this year were originally intended to answer the question of how adults are coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, but it quickly turned out that they could also be used to see if social media was related to the Covid-19 pandemic. changes in mental health. So the researchers asked participants about their participation on social media, and then returned to them regularly to see if anything had changed over time.
Compared to people who don’t use social media, people who use Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat They reported depression much more often in subsequent polls, explains one of the study’s authors, Dr. Roy Perlis of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. And while the study does not prove that social media causes depression, it is possible that people with a tendency to this disease are more likely to use social media sites.
Study participants reporting initially minimal symptoms of depression very often reported worsening of their condition if they used social media. And since the overall use of social media has increased as a result of the pandemic, it is no wonder that we are talking about a large increase in depression – in the United States before the pandemic, it was 8.5%. citizens, and the October surveys indicate that already nearly one-third of Americans suffer from this disease.
As experts theorize, the most likely thing is that we try to fill the void in our life with social media, while instead of social support, we get something completely opposite – perfect images full of ideal people that remind us of what we do not have.
Finally, there is also a curiosity related to age and specific social media – scientists say that in the case of Facebook users under 35 are most likely to suffer from depression, but this is not the case Snapchat and TikTok, because people over 35 must be careful here.