They had an unprecedented incidence, leading some to think that it would be impossible to go without them. Twenty years ago, they are increasingly present in our lives. What are we talking about? A recent study revealed that they are more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and that they have a profound impact on our health, especially mental health.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube: social networks have revolutionized the way we connect with each other; so much that they have generated anxiety and depression disorders in thousands of young people, becoming a great source of dependence.
The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) study states that while these platforms have great opportunities to innovate, learn and be creative, they lose touch with reality, explains Sputnik. In early 2017, RSPH conducted a survey of 1,479 users ages 14 to 24 asking about the most popular social networking platforms. The purpose of the research was to discover the impact they had on their health and well-being.
Among the results, it is observed that one in four people in the world uses a social network: platforms that are more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. The study shows that 91% of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 exclusively use the Internet to navigate social networks, and their use is linked to higher rates of anxiety, depression and lack of sleep. This period of life is crucial to a person's emotional and psychosocial development.
By the mid-2000s, social networks had become massive and revolutionized the way humans communicate and share information. The rates of anxiety and depression in young people have increased 70% in the last 25 years. In turn, cyberbullying is a problem that grows exponentially: seven in 10 young people were victims.
In addition, one of the problems plaguing social networking users is the "comparison syndrome", especially for users of Instagram, the "vanity platform". Instagram, one of the most popular social networking platforms, has proven to have the most negative impact on the mental health of its users. YouTube was considered the most positive impact.
The study also concludes that social networks are the cause of problems like "FOMO" (fear of being lost), and yet they are presented as a space to experience a social life. "But the more they are used, the more likely it is that the syndrome of comparison will be activated in an individual and users will begin to create false and idealistic lives." This can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, and users could disconnect completely due to discomfort or sadness and become associable, "the study says.