The negative consequences of spending more time on social network sites is called Facebook depression. An increase in Facebook time elevates stress and anxiety by disturbing an individual’s emotional state, leading to depression. Of 1 billion worldwide Facebook users, the majority are students. Depression may develop due to just social factors and together with behavioral, cognitive, and biological factors.
Social comparison and feelings of envy are significant aspects of depression development due to Facebook use. Status updates and pictures with happy-looking faces (spending good time) can make other individuals unsatisfactory as they did not experience all that. Other elements involved in the evolution of depression may involve communication overload and reduced self-esteem. Some other causes include more friends, spending more time, regular use, and content of updates. One of the studies suggests that Facebook use did not produce stress, but when we share terrible health news (social disclosure), it reduces our well-being as well as others. Facebook user with less sharing of harmful health posts has less stress and improved quality of life.
Who is at more risk?
Some psychologists disagree that Facebook use can cause depression. However, individuals with poor self-esteem are at increased risk. Relation between Facebook and depression may depend upon class rank. Like 1st-year students or juniors use more Facebook, and they are emotionally attached, which also negatively affects their academic achievements. Seniors use it positively and effectively for communication between colleagues.
How to protect mental health from social media
By lowering Facebook envy risk of Facebook depression can be decreased. Relevant departments can provide adequate social support to alter students’ negative mental status. A few studies recommend that depressed patients may benefit from some online social networking or Facebook–based stress management system. Some below-mentioned factors may be beneficial.
- Use social media only, when necessary
Use of social media can obstruct and impede face-to-face interactions. If you set out specific period of time each day when your social media notifications are turned off, or your phone is even on aeroplane mode, you will be able to interact with the people in your life better. Make a vow not to check social media when eating with family and friends, playing with kids, or conversing with a partner. Make sure social media does not disrupt your work or divert your attention from challenging projects and interactions with coworkers. Keep your phone and computer away from your bed, especially, as this will disrupt your sleep.
- Prevent social media from taking the place of real life
Social media allows you to choose what people see. You can take 100 pictures and post what you think is the best. There is nothing wrong with this, but if you look at people’s lives online, it is important to understand that you are looking at a filtered version. You are not seeing what they are experiencing. For this reason, it is essential not to compare your life to what you see on social media. Your journey is just as important as others for what you have and what you don’t have, your journey is just different.
On the other hand, you should never replace social media use with a morning walk, regular exercise, or monthly tours. It prevents not only social media-induced depression but is also essential for vital health care. Because regular exercise has a marked impact on the hormonal level, these hormones, in return, prevent stress and psychological disorders.
- Take breaks to “detox.”
Set aside regular weekends to disconnect from social media. According to some research, you should disconnect from social media for five days or seven days. This detox is the most effective strategy to get rid of social media induced anxiety. One of the randomized controlled trials by Jeffrey Lambert (published in cyber psychology behavior and social networking) highlighted some benefits of taking one week’s break from social media (Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and Twitter). They concluded that it advances well-being and decreases anxiety and depression.
- Pay attention to your actions and feelings
Experiment with different times of day and span of time on your favorite online platforms to see how you feel during and after each session. You might find that a few short bursts make you feel better than browsing a site’s feed for 45 minutes. If you regularly find yourself tired and feeling horrible about yourself after plunging down a Facebook around midnight, stop using Facebook after 10 p.m. Also, person who use social media passively, simply viewing and consuming other people’s posts, report feeling worse than those who participate actively, uploading their content and communicating with others online. Optimistically filter out your online interactions.
- Approach social media cautiously; ask yourself, “Why?”
Consider if you are checking Facebook/Twitter firstly in the morning to stay updated on breaking news you will have to deal with – or if it is a mindless habit that allows you to avoid facing the day ahead. Do you have a strong desire to check Instagram whenever you are faced with a challenging task at work? Be fearless in your self-reflection and ruthlessly honest with yourself. Answer the difficult question: Why am I doing this now? Every time you go for your phone (or computer) to check social media. Decide if that is what you want to do with your life.
- Trim the bushes
You have probably made a lot of online friends and acquaintances, as well as people and organizations that you follow. You may find some information intriguing, but much of it may be boring, unpleasant, infuriating, or worse. Unfollow, mute, or conceal these contacts now; the great majority will not be noticed. Furthermore, it will make a difference in your life. According to a new study, information about the lives of Facebook friends has a more significant detrimental impact on people than other Facebook content. People who shared inspirational stories on social media felt a sense of thankfulness, vigor, and amazement. The negative impacts of social media can be mitigated by removing certain “friends” and adding a few inspiring or humorous websites.