By Rachel Popa
Social media has become a very prominent entity in our lives, making it hard to escape its influence. Since social media is a relatively new invention, the effect it has on us has not yet been made immediately apparent.
However, a recent study by the Psychological Institute of the University of Innsbruck in Austria has found that using Facebook for extended periods of time can make people feel depressed.
According to the study, Facebook makes people feel as if they’re wasting their life away on the Internet. Facebook has been deemed to be less meaningful and useful when compared to other social media websites.
It’s officially been proven that your friends’ boring statuses and meaningless pictures really can have an adverse effect on your mental health.
However, I think that these findings should be taken with a grain of salt. As said before, social media is a relatively new phenomenon, meaning that we may not quite understand how to use it properly just yet. Just like ice cream or pizza, social media should be consumed in moderation. A Facebook status here, or a tweet there won’t hurt. However, if one spends countless days on their smartphone or computer staring at various social media sites, then there might be a problem.
On the other hand, social media can be really useful. It helps us reach out to new people and stay connected with family and friends. Social media has been used to start revolutions, catch criminals and grow economies; it’s a very powerful tool. Still, as the age-old mantra goes, with great power comes great responsibility.
In the hands of the wrong people, social media can be used as a weapon. Cyberbullying has started to run rampant on many social media websites, including Facebook. The anonymity of the Internet allows people to bully others, often without direct consequences. When looking at the ills of social media, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s been linked to depression.
Even though social media has been shown to have adverse effects on people, I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. Social media has become a part of humanity, whether we like it or not. Like many other tools society has, social media can be used in both good and bad ways–we just haven’t found a good balance.
Our experience with social media so far has been short and seemingly experimental. Hopefully, we will find more positive ways to implement social media in our lives in the future. I can’t help but disagree whenever someone says that all social media is bad.
Every year, new forms of social media make their way into the world, each more innovative than the last. It’s up to us to take responsibility for the ways we use new technology.
Only time will tell whether or not humanity will be up to the challenge of implementing new forms of social media in a positive manner.