Cutting Back

Recognizing the Harmful Effects of Social Media


Connor Nieman

Mental Health and Social Media: The percentage of teens who have depressive episodes and either consider or attempt suicide increases as the amount of time teens spend using electronic devices increases.

Connor Nieman, Content Editor

     The internet and social media are dominating our lives. Social media has compromised our communication skills, strained family relationships, and negatively impacted mental health.

     One of the primary reasons why people have a hard time putting down their phones is because social media is addictive. In this Forbes article, 6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health, a review study from Nottingham Trent University looked back over earlier research on the psychological effects of social media use.  

     The research shows, “… addiction criteria, such as mood modifying experiences and tolerance and concealing the addictive behavior, appear to be present in some people who use social networks excessively.”

     A follow up study from Swansea University also confirmed that frequent users undergo withdrawal when they stop using social media and the internet for a period of time. Study author, Phil Reed, says, “We have known for some time that people who are over-dependent on digital devices report feelings of anxiety when they are stopped from using them …”

     Increased social media use distracts students from homework and results in procrastination, which is an unhealthy habit. Junior Gerold Gutierrez believes that people are wasteful with their time on social media.

     Gutierrez states, “I personally don’t use social media because I find it to be a waste of my time. Most people tend to be on social media when they don’t want to do something.”  

     This is definitely a huge issue because high school students already have enough anxiety related to balancing school, extracurriculars, and work, so spending time on social media only adds stress.

     On the topic of stress, the mental health of social media users is arguably one of the most important reasons to cut back. “I think social media has affected the mental health of younger generations,” says math teacher, Ms. Taylor Graham. “They are very affected by the amount of likes and mean comments they get, which results in low self-esteem.”

     The fact that we live in a world where self-worth is measured through constant approval from others is concerning. Technology is advancing with time, which means that it’s our job to ensure that the youngest of Generation Z don’t get addicted to social media.  

     There isn’t much time until these younger kids have access to cell phones, which means that now it’s more important than ever to put down our phones and set a good example.