Social media has changed our lives through the years, and it has become increasingly important during this pandemic. We get updates online for the growing cases of COVID-19 and guidelines for the “new normal” through social media. However, exposure may cause different effects on our mental health. Here are the ways how social media affects our mental health.
Most people go online on Facebook to keep themselves posted about current events. Several official Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, such as the World Health Organization, provide daily updates about cases of COVID-19 and the next steps to combat this virus. Government institutions and agencies are also posting about their respective programs for their people.
According to Natalie Bazarova, Ph.D., “It can provide an antidote to social distancing by allowing people to stay in touch with their friends and communities, engage in online conversations, participate in collective coping and processing of stressful life disruptions, and stay up-to-date on news and current events.”
She also added, “In this sense, social media plays an important social compensatory function by substituting physical touch with a virtual touch and extending social contacts beyond the physical boundaries of our confinements.”
Now that we’re under lockdown, we are far away from our loved ones. Social media has provided a faster and more convenient way to communicate with them no matter where they are. There are different ways to have fun with them, such as playing online games through video calls.
Social media is a powerful tool in expressing our thoughts and emotions during this pandemic. Everyone has their struggles, and by a simple post of “You are not alone” or “My lines are always open for you” can make someone feel that they have the means to open up their emotions when they’re not ready to share it online.
The COVID-19 crisis has left the marginalized sectors, such as the elderly, minorities, persons with disabilities in a problematic situation. There are also stranded individuals and cannot go home to their homes because of the lockdown. Organizations and individuals set up fundraising events online to help them in any way they can, such as buying groceries.
Because anyone can make social media accounts in an instant, this online platform is prone to misinformation. There are clickbait websites which leads us to an article that provides unreliable sources. So, it is a must that you know check the origins of the article you are reading. Also, make sure that the sources are indeed trustworthy and relayed accurately.
University of Pennsylvania’s research found out that using Facebook increases the feeling of being lonely. The study added that reducing social media usage will improve your overall well-being.
One of the reasons we can’t let go of our mobile phones is that we fear that we might miss out on updates about other people’s lives. But truth to be told, endlessly scrolling through our social media exacerbates our feelings that others have a better life than you have right now. Social Media lowers your self-esteem and increases your anxiety.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a social media detox, as it is right for your mental health. The information won’t go anywhere, so you don’t have to worry too much if you miss out on something.
Physical interaction is always still better than online. However, we refrain from meeting with our friends because of the fear we might get infected by COVID-19. Social media is one of the root causes of why most people experience depression and anxiety. While social media provide means to connect with people easily, it may do more harm than good.
Use Social Media Deliberately
Since we have no choice but to work or study from home and communicate with people through social media, we must intentionally use it. Set a limit to yourself when to use social media and when to stay away from your devices.
There are different ways on how you can manage your social media to prevent getting adverse effects of social media.