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Social Media and The Internet Are Damaging Our Mental Health

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Words: 2169 |

Pages: 5|

11 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Words: 2169|Pages: 5|11 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

The intent of this paper is to bring awareness to the fact, that technology is damaging social interaction and causing antisocial behaviors. That through social media and the internet we are damaging our mental health.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Is modern technology bringing society closer together or is the act of going online driving in a wedge that further alienates us from our peers. The rapid growth in society’s dependency on technology has led to a major decline in basic social and interaction skills. Engaging in social interaction is a key aspect of establishing social relations and maintaining a healthy mentality. Throughout recent years society has invested more time into technologies like the internet or the mass conglomeration that is social media. According to a newspaper article, many young adults don’t know how to function without the use of social media (Hampton, 2014, para. 3). These social media platforms are fundamentally shifting the way people communicate and interact with each other, shaping people to lack personal relationships. Ever since the rise of social media and the convenience of communication that it brings, society has lost touch of an important part of human nature, our desire to communicate face to face. The negative social effects brought upon by social media has made it harder for people to function in society. This paper will examine the idea that people of all ages are being influenced by technology such as; the internet, cell phones, and social media causing stress and poor mental health leading to an increase in antisocial behaviors.

As with all tools, technology can be incredibly useful if used correctly and for the right purpose. One of the primary concerns with technology is how people are misusing it, instigating society to view technology as an unfavorable influence towards the mental health of individuals. Hing Keung Ma (2011), a Hong Kong professor, states:

“The impact of Internet on our life becomes more and more significant and undeniable. Life without Internet is definitely very troublesome and inconvenient. The invention of Internet is just like the discovery of nuclear energy—it is the result of the rapid development of science and technology—it can be good or bad thing for human beings, depending on how we use it” (para. 4).

This quote signifies how the internet is a tool like any other. If used correctly the internet could prove beneficial for people’s wellbeing or mental health. Although many people tend to use tools like the internet in a harmful way. Mainly using is as a tool to facilitate antisocial behaviors like cyberbullying or wasting time online without a clear objective to avoid real life situations. The purpose of social technology is to facilitate the interactions between people, technology serves to define and dictate the nature of interactions that a human being may have within their environment. The argument behind this is that humans are social beings thus, interacting with each other to pass information. Unfortunately, technology is becoming people’s default time consumer and they are allowing technology to control their lives. This social technology limits the need for people to interact face to face and even encourages this action through texting rather than calling someone or talking to them in person. Without this personal interaction, conversation becomes an individual activity rather than a social one. This increased use of social technology leads to the harm of social skills, its causes damage to people’s enjoyment of life, and makes for an easy ignition of conflicts.

The world wide web or the internet is a widely used and heavily utilized resource. The use of the internet brings about many social detriments as well as benefits. The internet can facilitate antisocial internet behavior which includes the using the internet to do illegal activities or cyberbullying. Unfortunately, some people become overly dependent of the internet in their lives to the extent that it causes damage to their mental health. Society considers this type of excessive internet use as internet addiction or pathological Internet use. These addicts run the risk of harming personal relationships, educational paths, or may lose an employment opportunity because of their addiction. The addicts could lie or make uncharacteristic behaviors because of the internet. Reiner (2012) discusses a quote from his student, “Our generation is afraid that we might miss something, that we might fall out of the loop” (p. 1). They use the internet as a means for escape from life’s problems or to silence emotions such as anxiety, guilt, or shame. This becomes a problem when they have to go past the internet and step into the real world, having lacked social skills and not being able to interact socially properly.

Technology has changed societal interaction dramatically, with an abundance of people relying on social media in a daily setting. People, especially children have gone from playing and interacting with their peers outdoors to communicating online via Twitter, Facebook, or texting. Communicating electronically has been made so user friendly that young adults and teens are less interested in face-to-face communication with their friends or family. The median age where parents allow their children online has been decreasing dramatically in recent years. This is causing a myriad of problems stemming from a lack of regulation of children’s access to the internet. Children can be exposed to many different sources of information online with most of them lacking the real-life experiences need to safely browse. Social media can impact a child’s mental image by bringing about unrealistic expectations of themselves. Leading to children suffering from depression because they don’t have the right body type, or they don’t own the right type of clothing. According to Dohnt and Tiggeannin’s research (2006), “We found that girls who engaged in more appearance-related social discussions and imitation of others had lower appearance satisfaction. These findings are similar to those found with adolescents and preadolescents” (Para. 41). This means that by going online and being bombarded by pictures of unrealistic body images can cause an increase in a bad self-image. Causing a multitude of problems that can lead to shutting themselves out from the world and avoiding social interactions. While in this quotation it’s a female example the same holds true for male adolescents. Social media is showing unrealistic body images leading these adolescents to believe that they aren’t up to par. This could in turn open the path to cyber bulling which causes a host of other mental problems.

Could you live a day without your phone, tablet, or computer? Well you probably could, but it wouldn’t be an enjoyable experience. As technology becomes more widespread, people are becoming more reliant on social media to stay in contact with friends and family. Social media is shaping people to take less value from face to face conversations and personal relationships as opposed to vaguely staying connected online. It becomes acceptable to look someone up to find out if you want to learn more information about that person whether it is for employment reasons or just personal. Today social media even affects small social gatherings like garage sales, you no longer need to drive around on a Sunday afternoon to see if your neighbor is selling his something you need. All that is required of you is to go to somewhere like Facebook marketplace, the need to interact face to face is removed. If people are too busy putting on their online persona how are they supposed to make connections with people in the real world? As said by Shery Turkle (2012), “We expect more from technology and less from each other. And I ask myself, why have things come to this? I believe it because technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable. And we are vulnerable; we are lonely, but we are afraid of intimacy” (Turkle, S. 2012). The reason we are so attracted to these technologies is because we turn to technology to socialize in ways we can control. With the use of this social technology, we can share our thoughts and feelings in ways we can control, we can skip over any awkwardness and take a third person point of view. Altogether putting ourselves in control of any interaction and because of that we don’t know the necessary social skills that you need to interact with people in real life. I would argue that the more we use social media to make connections, the more we are really disconnecting from each other.

Never leaving your house has never been so simple and streamlined. Today with apps that facilitate ordering food, delivery grocery’s, or just shopping online fully remove the need to leave your home or interact with another person. For example, an individual may use Amazon to order something they could’ve just gone to a local store to get. Even the music industry has changed compared to what it was in the past. It used to be that a new album would come out and you would discuss it with your peers to see if it was worth buying. Then you would physically go to the store then talk to the owner or anyone else that is buying it. Now all the social interaction has been removed and all you need to do is listen to it online for free before you decide to buy it or not, making the need to socialize even less. Even the simple social act of getting a hotel room as been removed, today all you have to do is rent a room on an app like Airbnb and you immediately have housing available to you. The ease of access to just about anything has made personal interaction unnecessary facilitating the spread of antisocial behavior. According to Chris Rither (2018), no matter where he travels, he runs into the same problem, whether it’s a bus or train service every induvial there is staring down into their phones. That they are missing out on the world around them and wasting the ability to socialize with those around them (para. 1). There is no longer any need for people to socialize with others or build lasting relationships when people no longer have to. People are losing opportunities to interact socially and using technology as a tool to let them be anti-social.

The use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram are becoming widespread in our society. These social media platforms all individuals to construct a profile in which they can maintain and create social networks, talk about what’s happening in their life. As well as respond to other individuals through posts or emojis. There are people who use social media to manage their mental health. For example, social media can be used as a helpful coping mechanism to help with communication or self-representation. It can be used to connect with individuals who have similar experiences and allows access to motivational content. I would argue that the purpose that people get on social media for is a need to belong and a need for self-presentation. That social media provides an outlet for people to connect with new friends, exchange ideas and pictures, develop new interests and experiment with new forms of self-expression. When adolescents use social media, they can build important social and technical skills that are important for functioning in day-to-day society. Yet the more social media influences we have, or the more we think we are connecting with others; we are actually disconnecting from life. Imagine walking into a room, and all you see are people not talking and looking down. With a blue glow lighting up their faces you realize that any aspect of social interaction has been thrown out the window. Despite some evidence for the potential benefits of social media use, social media engagement may also be harmful for an individual's mental health and wellbeing.

Altogether technologies such as the internet or social media are just a tool for people to abuse or use correctly. Whether or not they choose to abuse these social technologies is another question. Parents need to put in place a set of regulations for their children who are going online to often. That although we can nether leave our house that it is beneficial to go out and experience the world. One that isn’t constructed the way we want around us but an awkward and socially active world. We need to think what a day would be like without technology and see for ourselves whether the lack of social pressures and the absence of a smartphone will lead to more social behaviors.

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References

  1. Dohnt H, Tiggeann M. (2016). The Contribution of Peer and Media Influences to the Development of Body Satisfaction and Self-Esteem in Young Girls: A Prospective Study. Developmental Psychology, 42(5):929-936. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.42.5.929.
  2. Hampton, M. (2014, August 22). Technology: Is it making kids anti-social? Retrieved from https://universe.byu.edu/2014/08/22/technology-is-it-making-kids-anti-social/
  3. Ma H. K. (2011). Internet addiction and antisocial internet behavior of adolescents. TheScientificWorldJournal, 11, 2187–2196. doi:10.1100/2011/308631
  4. Reiner, A. (2012, September 29). Only Disconnect. Chronicle of Higher Education, 59, 1. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.indianapolis.libproxy.ivytech.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=80415643&site=ehost-live
  5. Rither, C. (2018, November 1). Are smartphones making us unsocial? OneMeanDream. Retrieved from https://onemeandream.com/are-smartphones-making-us-unsocial/
  6. Turkle, S. (2012, February). Connected, but alone? [Video file]. TED2012. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together?language=en#t-753866
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Social Media and the Internet are Damaging Our Mental Health. (2024, January 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/social-media-and-the-internet-are-damaging-our-mental-health/
“Social Media and the Internet are Damaging Our Mental Health.” GradesFixer, 31 Jan. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/social-media-and-the-internet-are-damaging-our-mental-health/
Social Media and the Internet are Damaging Our Mental Health. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/social-media-and-the-internet-are-damaging-our-mental-health/> [Accessed 17 Jun. 2024].
Social Media and the Internet are Damaging Our Mental Health [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 31 [cited 2024 Jun 17]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/social-media-and-the-internet-are-damaging-our-mental-health/
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