There are plenty of people out there today that use social media to its fullest. They want to learn about the world and the people in it, and they want to stay in touch with their friends and family members who live far away or who they don’t get to talk to that often because they’re all busy with their daily lives.
Recently, there has been talk of becoming addicted to social media. While that makes a good headline, it’s probably not the most accurate description of what’s actually taking place. Addiction is a serious issue, and using a social media site frequently doesn’t actually fit the criteria of addiction.
Still, there are concerns with the overuse of social media sites and the kinds of effects (both good and bad) that social media has on people.
- People like to interact with others. Even if you don’t get out much or have a large group of friends, you’re human – and humans are inherently social creatures. It’s good for your mental health to be around others or at least talk to them online and spend time interacting. It can build self-esteem, make you happier, and allow you to learn more about yourself, other people, and the world around you.
- Group mentality comes into play when people interact through social media. That’s both good and bad, depending on what the group is focused on and what they’re doing about it. It’s very easy for people to start talking to one another about a topic and to eventually start thinking alike. Mobs are started that way, but so are successful business ventures – it’s all in what the people are interested in and what their plans for the future are.
- It’s also very possible for people to feel as though they have others who care about them when they use social media. There’s compassion involved on many sites where people get to know one another. Be careful, though, because there are also scammers who will prey on the compassion of others and cheat people out of money and possessions.
- Social media only affects you to the extent that you let it. If you find yourself getting too involved with social media, take a break for a while and go do something else. You should balance the time you spend in online social networks with the time you spend in community and family activities in the real world.
Mental health can be helped by social media, but it can also be hindered if people spend too much time online. When you find a balance, you’ll be much better off, and so will the people you have relationships with. Don’t underestimate the value of social media interactions, though, especially for people who don’t like to get out much or can’t frequently leave their houses. It’s one of those areas where you can find lots of social media resources online to help you learn and pursue it further.
People who are confined to their homes can help avoid depression and see other benefits from being active in online social networks where they can get support from others and have a compassionate audience of understanding listeners.