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Multiple personality disorder, OCD and depression, new study reveals side effects of social media
Social Media sites affect young minds more than they realise, leading to multiple health disorders.
Social media is fun and almost everyone is hooked to it. But it definitely does not come without its side effects. There are a number of studies that will tell you how social media has led to some serious problems such as stalking, bullying, and narcissism. A new study conducted by Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) tells that almost all social media platforms have an impact on our mental health. Though some have a positive effect but some are hazardous, which further has resulted in a rise of mental disorders among youngsters, the avid social media users.
The study, called #StatusOfMind, was carried out and published by RSPH in collaboration with Young Health Movement. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are some of the social media platforms studied. Today, 91 percent of 16 to 21-year-olds are hooked onto social media websites. They use not just use one such platform at a time but are a part of multiple social media sites and adapt their virtual personalities as per the demands of each site. As a result of constant pressure and comparison with others on these sites, teens and youngsters develop multiple personality disorders and also face severe mental health issues.
In the study, the participants were asked to rate multiple websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc based on addiction and how users feel they impact their health. The study further reveals that the rate of anxiety, stress, and depression have gone up considerably, up to 70 percent among social media users in the past 25 years. Some of the core disorders diagnosed were Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The impact was worst on users using such channels for more than 2 hours daily.
The mental disorders are caused by constant comparisons to peers and the belief that they lead better, more fulfilling lives. The constant comparisons also raise the bar for youngsters, pushing them to perform better in all areas of life and leaving with a dissatisfied feeling when they fail. The comparisons can push the youth into serious depression and also affect their studies, work and relationships with friends and family outside of social media. Social media addiction leads to lack of sleep, body image issues (especially among girls) and cyber bullying. Instagram and Snapchat rated the worst when it came to negative impact with Facebook and Twitter leaning more towards the positive end.
Apart from negative impact, the report also talks about the ways in which social media sites have helped the youth positively. Thanks to the enormous amount of information easily available on such channels, the users can often get multiple resources to solve their problems. There is also access to success stories of others, people close to users and such stories can be inspiring. Especially when it comes to health-related information, social media sites have proved to be a blessing. Sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter also help users develop a self-identity and improve their relationships with others. YouTube has been ranked as the most positive site followed by Twitter and Facebook.
RSPH has reached out to social media channels to display warning notes to all users regarding the side effects of excessive usage. Also, they have reached out to the support centers to help identify users with mental health issues and reach out to such members voluntarily, providing guidance and assistance in an informed manner. Another major issue is the digital editing of images and the report creator wishes social media sites to inform users if an image is not real and is digitally altered so that users are aware before setting unattainable goals. Shirley Cramer CBE, RSPH said, “Social media has become a space in which we form and build relationships, shape self-identity, express ourselves, and learn about the world around us; it is intrinsically linked to mental health.”
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