Impact of the social media Era
In today’s world of the social media era, it is hard to ignore how social media appears to have put everything we know about life on its side.
On a more serious note, the power of social media and mental health has been a hotly debated topic for many years. The downfall of many celebrities with mental illnesses, including depression and bipolar disorder, can be partially attributed to their dependence on social media to promote themselves. But does that tell the story?
Dr. Jordan Sudberg, a pain management specialist, has worked with social media and mental health for the past seven years. He evaluates social media’s impact on the positive and negative aspects of mental health.
“Social media has its benefits; there are always new ways for people to communicate with those they love and care about,” he said. “People can express themselves in many ways that they weren’t able to do before, which is interesting and encouraging. There is also an opportunity to connect human beings across the world to one another and build relationships between people in different countries.”
Dr. Jordan Sudberg also notes that although many people use social media to stay in touch with those they love and care about, they are often caught up in the illusion that it is what they need to do. “It can be fun and entertaining at times, but you start seeing all of the good things about it and forget all the problems it brings,” he said. “Most people are not only caught up in the external appearance of Facebook or Instagram but are also becoming quite addicted to the dopamine rush that can come from checking their phones or posting something on social media. In addition, it’s easy to forget that social media also has a great capacity for negative effects.”
Studies have been conducted that show social media and mental health are connected. According to Dr. Sudberg, these studies show that the more people use social media, the more depressed they become.
“When you look at those who spend a lot of time on the internet and using social media, they are more likely to experience depression,” he said. “You wouldn’t think twice about it if someone were to say in group therapy or some sort of treatment group that they were spending four hours a day looking at their phone, but I want people to start thinking about how much time we spend on our phones and what it is doing to us mentally and emotionally.”
Sudberg highlights the fact that social media can be both a positive as well as a negative experience. The real question here is how much time you need to spend on social media. The average American consumes approximately 8 hours per day on their phone.
“When I think of someone spending 148 minutes a day on their phone, it’s not enough time to have a normal conversation with another person or even engage in hobbies,” he said. “People have different levels of social media use, and I think people should understand that they will probably never reach the level of spending 14 hours/day on their phone or having 150 friends because it’s just not realistic.