Increase in depression and anxiety linked to social media

By Steven Cardona

The Psi Beta Club presented research that suggests increased use of multiple social media platforms is independently associated with both depression (hypothesis 1) and anxiety (hypothesis 2).

The presentation was held last Thursday and its main focus was on the use of social media and the link to mental health issues.

Layali Hamideh, president of the club, Karen Montes, vice president, and Daniella Valdez, historian, talked about specific points regarding these effects.

Valdez talked about research and statistics concerning the measurements of depression and anxiety linked to the amount of social media usage.

One of the studies she talked about was multitasking and how it can cause individuals to have an impaired cognitive process.

Another study she talked about was one conducted at the University of Pittsburgh where over seventeen hundred adults from the ages of 19-32 were participants.

This was a notion Valdez stressed because of the growing number of social media platforms.

They showed Ted Talk on YouTube by Bailey Parnell.

The Ted Talk focused on the topic of depression and anxiety linked to social media usage. The video brought up the idea of the “highlight reel,” which shows the high points of people’s lives on social media.

The “economy of attention” was also brought up.

This is all the shares, likes, and comments people get on their social media posts.

Students shared their experiences with the fear of missing out or FOMO for short.

This happens a lot when people see their friends doing fun and amazing things on their highlight reel.

The video posed an argument that all the feedback people get on their posts validates their feelings about what they are posting based on how much likes and comments they get.

What made people laugh and look around the room was the idea of the  phantom vibration symptom, which is the vibrating feeling someone gets as if they just got a notification, but there is nothing there.

The video ended with the notion that social media isn’t going anywhere, so it is important to “practice safe social.”

After the video they passed around handouts of The Cognitive Model, which is a type of behavioral therapy that is supposed to help individuals identify their thoughts and reactions to situations.

A question was asked to the students – should the use of social media have some type of educational system? Most students agreed that there should be a social media education class similar to the idea of sex education.

One of the students, Melody Celis, said “It’s important for parents to check what their kids are seeing on social media.”

Bryant Horowitz, a psychology professor at East Los Angeles College added that his seven year old son only sees what Horowitz posts about him on social media.

He said that his son gets very limited interaction with social media.

Montes talked about the positive aspects of using social media.

She brought up the fact that it brings people together and develops awareness.

She said communities are built and brought together on social media, and it is a positive experience when families who are hundreds of miles away can communicate online through these social media sites.

Hamideh brought up negative impacts of social media has on individuals.

One point was the standards of beauty and how unrealistic it is for people to expect themselves to look like others they see online.

Another point Hamideh made was that violence is becoming normalized because of the amount of content always surfacing for individuals exploring social media sites.

The presenters shared their experience of doing a one week cleanse of social media.

The results were that at first it gave them anxiety, but after a few days they got used to the absence of their social media sites.

“I didn’t wake up and check my phone,” Valdez said because that’s the first thing she was used to doing every morning.

The session ended with the everyone making predictions about the direction of social media and how future generations will be affected by it.

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