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How Social Media Affects Mental Health of American Students | The Triangle

How Social Media Affects Mental Health of American Students

Social media platforms have taken over the world. There’s no point denying this as billions of people are using “likes” to make them feel good about themselves. However, there might be more than meets the eye when it comes to social media.

According to statistics on social media and mental health, avid users of these platforms have a 60 percent higher chance of becoming depressed.

So, what’s the situation like when it comes to American campuses? Let’s take a closer look at the effects of social media on the mental health of young adults in the U.S.

Statistics reveal that more than 95 percent of American teenagers are using social media daily. Likewise, studies show that 93 percent of young adults own a smartphone. Of course, these numbers are growing by the day.

On the one hand, social media can help people connect with distant relatives or someone on the other side of the planet. Also, online communication can be a safe option during self-isolation, which we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On top of that, social media can boost your confidence. Yet, the number of likes, comments and shares can be a double-edged sword. The thing is, we always need more of them.

The never-ending cycle can quickly turn into a losing battle, which leads to depression and self-doubt. Avid users of social media tend to seek validation from others.

In the end, addiction to social media can lead to sleep disorders. Sooner or later, the lack of sleep will leave adverse effects on your mental health.

In the last couple of years, we witnessed a dramatic rise in the usage of social media. For instance, there was a 30 percent spike in teens on social media in the last five years.

At the same time, young adults are spending more time staring at smartphones and laptops. Believe it or not, more than 86 percent of teens post on social media at least six times per day. Two-thirds of young adults spend at least 60 minutes scrolling social media before going to bed!

Thus, the solution to decreasing adverse side effects lies in limiting the usage. Young adults need to know when and why they should use social media. Pointless scrolling can be addictive, but this activity is time-consuming as well.

Also, detox periods and multiday breaks are an excellent method of decreasing the impact of social media platforms. Last, but not least, there’s always the option of deleting social media apps from your phone, at least for a little while.

As we said, social media can lead to severe mental health issues. Social isolation and loneliness are hard to deal with, and these aspects can be highly traumatizing. Thus, campuses and educational establishments must try to detect and solve the problem as quickly as possible.

In other words, constant communication and interaction with students is a necessity, not a luxury. Counseling sessions can help with the reduction of suicidal thoughts or any similar mental health problem.

Of course, more campuses should follow the example of Drexel University. In 2015, the mental health kiosk in the lobby of the recreation center was the first of its kind on U.S. campuses. It allowed students to perform anonymous self-assessment. On top of that, mental health screening was available online as well.

In essence, higher educational institutions should tackle the problem of mental health with every possible resource. For instance, discussions and debates on the use of social media platforms will provide students with a better understanding of the issue.

Many young adults don’t even realize that their addiction to the virtual world is harming their relationships in real life. So, American students must grasp the seriousness of the situation and start the healing process.