Studies Show Social Media Can Contribute To Mental Health Issues

A recent article in The Daily Nebraskan cites various studies at universities that have linked social
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media use to mental health issues, ranging from worsened moods to depression. One survey found that over 98% of students at American colleges use social media, so this issue is widespread.  

Seeing the exciting events and big groups of people on other people's social media accounts is leading college students to be envious or anxiety ridden. Students seem to have a fear of missing out or a need to know what others are doing without them, suggests Robert Portnoy, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

The article highlights one students' particular struggle with body image and how social media sometimes triggers her back to worse feelings about herself. Freshman Chelsea Musfeldt is trying to channel that experience into something positive by speaking out about mental health. As the social media coordinator for UNL's chapter of Active Minds, an organization "dedicated to fostering discussions about mental health on college campuses" Musfeldt is try to get the conversation started.

These affects may not have been preventable, but it's important to remember to use social media in moderation and to remember that it's not the full story of people's lives. Portnoy says "social media can serve to connect people in ways that were ... unimaginable a generation ago," but if it's the only means of communication it can enable a generation that avoids face-to-face contact.

Social media should not, and probably cannot, be controlled because it is such a useful and convenient tool. It is the communication of the future. Adults today need to begin teaching the negative effects of social media to younger generations as it becomes integrated into their lives sooner. As seen in a CNN study, the technology addiction is starting as young as 13. Adolescents need to realize the mental health issues that could arise if they are not cautious. 

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