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Social Media Use and Its Connection to Mental Health

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The influence of the media on mental health does affect how we approach life. I had a friend who broke an arm just because he wanted to be Superman. If you can believe it, you can achieve it, not so? Well, It didn’t work out for him.

Back then, I also said that I’d like to become an astronaut someday. I wanted to be a doctor, an engineer, a pianist, a scientist, a dancer, a banker, a pharmacist just in the space of few years.

Well, someone might say that I gave up on my dream, but what if I never had a vision of my own? What if I was driven by what I heard and what I saw in making these choices?. One day, I might say, yes, I want to be a footballer because Ronaldo plays so well and he’s famous. Then tomorrow, Oh, I want to be a scientist because I watched a documentary about Albert Einstein’s scientific achievement on TV. Though, this is an excellent medium of self-discovery. It is also a powerful tool that can pose as a threat to an individual’s mental health when used in the wrong way.

The Influencers: Flowing With The Tide 

faceless girl watching tv on wicker stool at home
Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

Who we are and what we become influenced by two factors The first is the environment, and the second is the internet and media. Both are essential for the collective growth of the society. Both are supposed to guide to us discover ourselves, but that’s not always the case.

Of these two, the influence of the media on mental health is greater since the leapfrog of technology. As a result, even the environment struggles to catch up.

According to research on social media statistics from 2019, there are about 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, and this number is not slowing down for any reason. And that equates to about 45% of the present world population. And what about TVs. Statista says that there were up to 1.7 billion TV households in 2019, which doesn’t even give the exact number of people who watch TV in the world. In October 2020, Statista said the number of internet users worldwide stands at 4.13 billion, which means that more than half of the global population is currently connected to the internet. 

Gone were the days when all you knew depended solely on where you live or the environment you find yourself in. The influence of the media on mental health has proven to be a strong on the society and who we are. 

The 21st Century Hook 

In a published post by BBC on 31st of January, 2019, there was a report of a 12-year-old girl, Libby, who became hooked and addicted to some postings, looking at self-harm pictures on Instagram – including images of cutting, overdosing and burning. Libby’s dad, who also narrated the problem. He was shocked by the images he saw. People using knives and scalpel on their bodies.

“I’m an ex-military man. I didn’t see stuff like that when I was in the army.” He went further to say.

Many people today desire to be many things not because they’re inspired or motivated to do them for their excellent, but because they saw others do it or watched it and became captivated, manipulated and hooked. Since they can’t help themselves, they end up following the tide.

You hear it long enough, and you can’t get it out of your head, you watch it long enough, and you battle for a long time to shut it out. No generation had ever been so overtaken by different addictions like the way it is in the 21st century. 

Media On Mental Health: Addiction Is The Threat 

I once met a young man in the University who lamented helplessly on his addiction to betting. It all began from the betting adverts he saw on the internet. The media may be a force for good, but it has also become a threat to who we are and what we become in society.

Addiction to the internet and media is a rising challenge today. Comparecamp says that 61% of internet users are addicted to it. Another study revealed that 65.5% of junior high school students belong to the internet addiction-risk group. Also, the study found that 6.5% of the students were in the severe internet addiction group.

Pornography

And what about the rising threat of pornographic addiction? Webroot says that 28,258 users watch pornography on the internet every second. 35% of all internet downloads are related to pornography. More so, 34% of internet users experience unwanted exposure to pornographic content through ads, pop up ads, misdirected links or emails.

Suicidal Thoughts

People are losing themselves to flow with everything on the media and internet. When things begin to fall apart, they start to sink into the depths of low self-esteem and depression. Their identity goes dark before their eyes. Life loses meaning to the individual. If help isn’t sought for, such a person might end up taking the suicide road. 

The media/internet doesn’t really care about the individual. It just wants to plant its own system and brainwash you and your belief. In most cases, whatever is accepted on the mainstream, eventually becomes the norm, and that’s why trends don’t last for long. Few people would hardly care about what’s real or genuine. They just go with the trend. And though the media has helped many lives, it has also destroyed many.

The graveyard is the richest place on earth because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled

Les Brown

Conclusion

A lot of people today never truly live their lives. They spend so much time on the internet and in front of the TV screen. Some end up becoming trapped in different addictions on the mainstream and cannot live up to their full potential.

The truth is that there’s only one “you” in the whole world. We’ll never ever meet another you again. If you can’t be you, then it means you’re not existing. Just be “you”.

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