Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Other Social Networking Sites the Healthy Way
Social media—websites and applications that enable users to interact and share information—have profoundly changed the way we live. Whether that’s good or bad for our emotional health is a matter of debate.
On the positive side, social media:
- * Nurtures existing relationships and create new ones. No matter where you live, it’s possible to find others who share the same interests and concerns.
- * Increases the resources for mental health information and support. Studies show that people who get support from peers for physical or psychological conditions like cancer or depression experience better health outcomes.
- * Can boost productivity by making information more accessible. In fact, studies have linked judicious internet/social media use with greater success in academics as well as improved job performance and employment prospects.
But the same attributes that make social media a positive force in people’s lives also may be potentially harmful. For example:
- * Online anonymity allows cyberbullies to prey on vulnerable peers without taking personal responsibility.
- * Recovering from a gambling addiction is more problematic due to the proliferation of online betting and instant loan sites.
- * Social media can connect dissatisfied, disgruntled, and misguided people and further stimulate negative attitudes and prejudices.
- * Social media can be detrimental to individuals with self-esteem issues and insecurities, because it makes it easy for people to compare themselves with others.
- * Rumors and false information can spread with lightning speed over the internet.
- * Indiscrete remarks and photos can never be taken back once they’ve been shared.
- * Social media can be addictive.
Research into the effects of social media is still in its infancy, but there is mounting evidence to support the concerns. Teens and young adults are believed to be particularly vulnerable because social media is an integral, indispensable part of their lives.
One thing is clear: Social media is here to stay. We must use it, in whichever form (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), sensibly and in moderation to enjoy the benefits while avoiding the pitfalls.
For more information on the pros and cons of social media, click here to read a clinical whitepaper on the subject. Or click here to view a video about social media on our YouTube Channel.