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No one can say anymore that these are just creative applications handy for having some fun and easier communication. It’s been a while since Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms became an integrated part of everyday’s life of millions worldwide.
It all maybe started as a great way for instant connection to people and interesting “hanging out”, but nowadays we’re all virtually expressing ourselves, documenting our lives and closely monitor on the others. These interactions trigger myriad shades of emotions. Including the negative ones. No doubt there are many amazing advantages of using social media, but what worries is increased the number of studies indicating the bad influence of virtual world on out emotional and mental state. Understanding of our personal motives for using social websites could reveal various pathology. On the other hand, observing emotional influence these platforms impose onto us could reveal that social media is making us depressive, anxious or lethargic.
Nearly 60% of all Americans have a profile on some social network. Although teenagers and young adults are the most active users, these applications are not reserved for young anymore. 55% Americans aged between 45 and 55 use social networking and devastating 30% of all users check their profile several times a day, seven days in a week. The average number of hours spent online indicates significant attention dedicated to updates in the virtual world. Some aspects of online behavior are quite intriguing. The majority of young adult users find it easier to express their emotions and honest opinions in the form of a status update than personal face to face. These are just some facts suggesting that social media have a great impact on out psyche and emotional life. “Facebook depression” came up as a phrase used in one recent large-scale study focused on the influence of social networking when higher rates of depression and anxiety were detected and linearly linked to using these websites. The term is not an official diagnose yet, but many psychiatrists recognized the connection between Internet use and depression among young Americans. The theory is that social media contributes these illnesses in three major ways: by influencing self – esteem, exposing youngsters to bullying and promoting comparison with others.
Scientists at this School of Medicine conducted recently the first big study testing the connection between depression and time spent on social websites.The research included nearly 2000 young adults aged between 19 and 32. The participants answered various questions about eleven most popular social media and their personal habits online.The revealed intriguing results showed that total amount of time spent online was linearly associated with expressed symptoms of depressive feelings, apathy or anxiety. It is believed that frequent and continuous exposure to an idealized picture of other people’s lives promotes feelings of envy and distorted impressions of lower personal value.Since cross – section researches do not distinguish cause and the consequence; it is hard to say if negative impact of social media provokes depression or depressive adults turn to social media in the quest for a solution, self-help or distraction.
The vulnerable group being at high risk of developing Internet depression usually consists of young adults coming from well-situated families. Opposite to that, a vulnerable group among elders usually includes low-income housewives, but the statistics are not clear and convincing enough.