Does social media cause depression?

Mar 3, 2021 | Mental Health

Social media is a great tool for achieving instantaneous connection with your friends and family, but it might also be leading to the rise of depression in young adults and teenagers.

Recent studies show that depression among young adults and teenagers has increased along with an increase of social media use. However, it’s challenging to draw clear conclusions from these studies because what they demonstrate is correlation, not necessarily causation.

So how could social media be causing depression in young adults and teenagers?

Experts are studying the causes behind the correlation, but there are some speculations as to why social media may be linked to an increase in depression:

  • Less personal time — Young adults and teenagers are spending less time connecting with others in person and more time connecting online, primarily through social media. These online connections can be less satisfying than in-person connections, which can lead to feelings of isolation.
  • Increased scrutiny — The pressure from how you are perceived by others on social media can be stressful, leading to anxiety or depression.
  • FOMO — Fear of missing out (FOMO) when you see posts by others having fun, traveling, or experiencing aspects of life you are not can make you feel isolated or lonely.
  • Cyberbullying — Bullies can harass victims on their social media accounts, which can lead to depression in their victims.
  • Reduced stigma — Depression is less stigmatized today than it was in the past. It’s possible that the correlation of an increase in depression is not as much connected with social media as it is with other factors, including hormonal changes as teenagers are developing. Before social media and before depression was less stigmatized, many people may have been dealing with depression but didn’t know it or didn’t seek help.

Whether you suspect it’s due to social media use or something else, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please seek help. There is hope for turning things around and experiencing joy in life. 

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