In 1971, after the first email was ever sent, social media has taken the world by storm. Social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter are now used by 1 in 4 people worldwide.
Researchers suggest social media may affect our mental health and well-being. Nowadays, the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter is feeding anxiety and increasing feelings of inadequacy. People predisposed to anxiety find themselves with the added pressure from technology that almost acts like a tipping point to make people feel more overwhelmed and insecure. Facebook may even make some miserable. On the surface, Facebook provides a great resource for filling human instinctual need for social connection. Some psychologists report that one of the issues that appears to be behaving as if technology is in control of them.
The latest statistics show that almost half of online adults use multiple social networking sites. Perhaps not surprisingly the majority are under the age of 30 but that 45% of Facebook users aged 65 and older now use Facebook.
- More than half of the respondents in a recent study said the use of social media sites had changed their behavior with a further half of those saying the impact was negative.
- Those with a negative view of social media said they felt less confident after comparing their accomplishments again their online friends.
- Almost 70% said they had difficulty relaxing and sleeping after using the sites.
- 60% of respondents said the only way they could get a break would be to turn the phone off completely. One in three reported doing this several times a day.
- Over half the respondents said they felt uncomfortable or worried when they couldn’t log in to their social media or email accounts.
- A quarter of respondents said after having confrontations online they experienced complications in personal and work relationships.
It is difficult to say what is causing this, such as “Is social media use leading to more insecurity and anxiety, or is it that people already high in these characteristics are attracted to social media and less resilient to the effects? For those that consistently post status updates, reinforcements keep coming in the form of supportive likes and comments. Behaviors that are consistently reinforced will be repeated, making it more difficult for a person who has developed this habit to stop. This behavior leads to Facebook addiction, which is now so common there was a psychological scale made. This scale is called the Berge Facebook Addiction Scale or (BFAS).
Here are a few facts about Facebook:
- There are currently 1.3 billion active users on Facebook.
- 63% engage in Facebook on mobile on a daily basis. 1 billion use it on a mobile device at least once a month.
- 32 billion people log on at least once a month.
- The average Facebook user spends 40 minutes a day on it.
- 12 billion messages are sent per day through Facebook.
Here are a few quick facts about Twittter:
- There are currently 284 million monthly active users
- About 500 million Tweets are sent per day
- 80% of Twitter active users are on mobile.
- 77% of the accounts are outside the U.S.
It appears that the exact effects of social media on our mental health and well-being remain to be seen. But one thing is certain – our use of social networking sites is unlikely to die away anytime soon.
Author: Blaine Pollock