Magazine Opinions Volume 69, Issue 1

Mental Health Issues Caused by Social Media

by Nolan Runkle

As you may know, social media is not a new concept, and the side effects surrounding it are not well known. Numerous studies have been done about the effect of social media on developing minds. In my opinion students at Las Lomas are on social media constantly. According to an article by CNN, “Our results suggest that social media itself doesn’t cause harm, but that frequent use may disrupt activities that have a positive impact on mental health…” But not all side effects are as optimistic. According to a more recent study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “…online social networking has caused profound changes in the way people communicate and interact. It is unclear, however, whether some of these changes may affect certain normal aspects of human behavior and cause psychiatric disorders.”

In my opinion, social media usage in teens is nowhere near the pressing issue that, ironically enough, social media tells us it is. People who blame social media for their depression are likely subjects of cyberbullying, and I’m not arguing that cyberbullying isn’t bad, because it obviously is, but it is pretty easy for one to defend themselves against. Just not paying attention to it, or deleting the conversation sounds too idealistic to be true, but quite honestly it is that simple. Say that you post a pride image on your Instagram, and someone makes a homophobic comment. Instead of taking that comment to heart, just don’t pay attention to it.

I’m not denying that social media has negative effects on human minds, in fact it’s very clear that often, the effects are very apparent. Depression based on cyberbullying and other reasons, such as loneliness and isolation, is a pressing issue in first world countries. But my point still stands: the outburst of bad coverage on social media is not deserved. In a place where we don’t have to worry about primal needs as much, we have more time to focus on our hobbies, such as managing social media accounts.

Sometimes using social media becomes addicting. It’s this side of social media that is the most terrifying. The all consuming void that is addiction is no joke, and needs to be taken seriously. The reason shows like My Strange Addiction are so entertaining is because of the weird and life changing situation these people put themselves in, and the next person to be on that show could be any one of us if we keep it up.