Social media: Is it a force for good or does it harm mental health?


Social media and it’s impact on us as individuals could honestly make up an entire dissertation or three. But today I am going to try to discuss social media and it’s impact on mental health, on community, on broadening horizons in one- hopefully not too long blog post.

First I want to say that the negative mental health effects of social media depend on mindset, on personality, on self-esteem. If you’re competitive, a perfectionist, have low self esteem social media, especially certain forms of social media will not be good for you. If you’re an empath you may be more negatively affected by it than others and may need to take more of a step back at time. To take care about what is appearing on your feed and really curate it to suit you.

In these cases seeing how much more successful everyone else is, seeing others balance 101 projects and still get 85s in their law exams hurts. It hurts, because most of us aren’t that “successful.” I put it that way because success does not have one definition – but society makes us feel that way. And I think when you see people being the person you wish you could be if it wasn’t for x, y or z it hurts.

Because yes. You can be anything you want to be – I truly believe in that statement to a point. But it shouldn’t be taken too literally.

I would love to be able to be a full time activity leader again because it would give me a summer job. But I can’t – it would objectively destroy me unless I was to solely do arts and crafts, movie nights and language games. But I don’t have that choice! It’s all or nothing.

When you take what is meant to be motivational too literally, when you compare yourself social media can be so harmful. Which is why It’s so important to check yourself and if one person is causing too much harm unfollow them.

One platform I find particularly damaging is Facebook. Because at least on my Facebook and indeed it’s intention is to only have people you know in your “friends list”. I get hurt when people don’ recognise my achievements as much as they recognise others. If I post to say I got a grade no one would care but other people even if they got lesser grades get hundreds of comments. And it’s not like it’s because it was harder to get those grades. It’s just the way it is – it’s the algorithm, it’s the amount of real friends, family they have.

It makes me feel incredibly alone…. especially when mutual friends comment but fail to comment on my post.

God that sounds self centred. But it’s why I am trying to use it a lot less. And eventually not atall because it is not a positive influence on my life. And I can’t make it  be.

Social media can however also be a force for good. A unifier. A way to connect with similar people whom you would not have otherwise connected with. It can make you feel less alone if you’re disabled and unable to get out of the house to see people much. If you have mental illness.

It can be a place for empowerment and broadening horizons. For finding new opportunities. It can too be a force for good.

I think it’s just really important to be so careful with how you consume it. So it stays that way.

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