Over the last decade, the rise of social media has been hard to avoid; in fact the vast majority of people reading this brochure will use at least one form of social media on a regular basis. For many people, social media is seen as a largely positive thing as it allows people to keep up to date and in touch with people that they may not see as regularly as they may like. Whilst there are many positives to social media, there is also increasing evidence that extended social media use can be detrimental to a person’s mental health. In this brochure we will outline some of the positive and negative impacts of social media.
It is unsurprising that much of the research into social media use and its impacts on mental health have focused more on adolescents and young adults, especially when you consider that those aged between 16–24 are considered to be the first generation who have matured at a time of social media dominance. Approximately 7% of children aged 10-15 spend more than 3 hours a day on social media websites (ONS, 2015). Approximately 84% of adults ages 18-29 claim to use at least one form of social media website; with 81% of adults ages 30-49 using one or more type of social media platform (Pew Research Center, 2021).
But teens are not alone in using social media. 74% of adults who use the internet are also on social media. With so much time being spent on various platforms and apps, it is not surprising that research suggests social media can cause mental health issues. The precise effects are still being debated amongst researchers, with causation often being difficult to determine. For example, it may be that those who are already struggling with mental health problems are more inclined to seek out social media platforms.
What is agreed is that extended social media use is associated with poorer mental health, with those using social media for more than two hours per day being affected the most. However, we feel that we must discuss both the positive and negative impacts of it in this brochure.
To find out more, download our social media and mental health guide:DOWNLOAD GUIDE