Social networks on the Internet are already part of our daily lives. Now, sharing moments and connecting with people around the world is something we can do with just one click and helps us keep in touch with people who do not live near us. However, can this constant stimulation and information input affect our mental health? To delve a little deeper into this topic, we approached the specialized phycologist, Dr. Emily Kosche who will help us to know all the positive and negative aspects of the constant use of social networks on the Internet, especially in the youngest members of the family.
How do social networks affect mental health?
The use of social networks via the Internet has increased exponentially in recent years. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are the three most commonly used platforms for the purpose of connecting with others and sharing photos as well as short videos. However, this total exposure can be detrimental to young people, especially if they are going through adolescence. An example of the great importance of social networks for the inhabitants of our country, it is important to mention that, in a study conducted by Branch, it was concluded that from 2020 to 2021, the use of this type of platform increased by 12.4%. This may seem like a low percentage, but when we realize that this represents approximately 11 million new users, we can appreciate a large number of people that this represents.
Therefore, it is important for parents to pay special attention to what their children consume on these digital channels. Social networks on the Internet can directly affect the self-esteem of young people and, in more serious cases, can even lead them to develop depression or anxiety. One of the main phenomena that occur in social networks on the Internet is cyberbullying, which consists of people using their profiles to send messages of hatred and rejection towards another. This can lead to insomnia, poor academic performance, and, in more serious cases, suicide.
Comparing oneself with others is also an inevitable consequence of social networks on the Internet. However, it should be remembered that most of what is shared on these channels is fabricated or edited. In addition, the most beautiful or important is shared, but that is not real life. The risks that can accompany these constant comparisons are anger, envy, developing a negative self-image and it can even be a hard blow to the person’s self-esteem.
Tips to prevent social networking from affecting your mental health
Some of the measures you can take to prevent the constant use of social networks on the Internet from wreaking havoc on your mental health are:
- Limit the hours you spend in front of your cell phone or computer: As you may know, it is not healthy to spend many hours on these platforms. This affects your daily routine and can cause this to become an addiction. Therefore, it will be best to have a schedule for the use of networks that is at least 3 hours before the time you normally go to sleep.
- Establish days off from social networks: One day a week where you do not check your networks can be beneficial, as it will be like a break for the constant stimulus that they represent. In fact, there are some applications that give the option to block access some days a week.
- Have a psychological or, if applicable, psychiatric accompaniment: The presence of a mental health professional is invaluable. For young people, it represents a person with whom they can talk with total confidence and knowing that they will be listened to and understood. In the case of parents, it can help to have a guide for the upbringing of their children and, consequently, to know what to do in case there is a negative situation.
With the support of Dr. Emily Kosche, a specialist in psychology. She obtained a degree in Clinical Psychology from the Universidad de las Américas. Dr. Kosche specializes in individual, child, family, and couple psychotherapy, psycho-pedagogical and vocational evaluations. She has completed several diploma courses and workshops in order to provide the best care to her patients.