May 16, 2021
As the use of social media increases, it seems as though there is also a rise in mental health disorders such as depression. According to Mental Health America, “9.7% of youth in the U.S. have severe major depression, compared to 9.2% in last year’s dataset.”
People make posts in hope of positive feedback, and when their pictures or videos do not reach the amount of views or likes they were hoping for, this can lead them to feel anxious or depressed. According to a study led by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, social media leads adolescents to feel a lack of self-worth when they receive an inadequate amount of positive feedback, or likes.
Personally, I struggle with posting pictures on social media. Before I make any type of post I often overthink and become anxious about what other people are going to think instead of posting for my own satisfaction. For Instagram posts, I can spend an hour just thinking of a clever caption or finding the right filter. This mentality has caused me to waste a bunch of time worrying about what I cannot control: other’s opinions.
I am not the only person with this struggle. Society has seemed to have a set standard for how one should look which creates the anxiety and obsession with posting the “perfect” pictures.
“Oftentimes I’ll look at pictures that I like and think whether people will like them or not, instead of putting my own preference first,” sophomore Allison Cassell said. “I find myself posting for other people’s liking instead of my own and feel unnecessary pressure on what is meant to be a fun app.”
The docudrama “The Social Dilemma” dives into the depths of some of the biggest social media platforms and how the algorithms created by these companies feed the already growing addictions people have to their phones and social media. The film talks about how the depression and suicide rates of teens and young adults addicted to social media have increased, in part due to the manipulation these companies have over people’s lives.
“When we were making the like button, our entire motivation was ‘can we spread positivity and love in the world?’ The idea that fast forward to today and teens would be getting depressed when they don’t have enough likes…was nowhere on our radar,” former Facebook and Google engineer Justin Rosenstein said in the docudrama.
Until society understands what is a healthy and what is an unhealthy lifestyle, addiction to social media will continue to skyrocket as will depression and other mental health disorders, especially in teenagers and young adults.