A recent BBC article has shone light on the relationship between the massive growth in social media and childhood depression. There has been an increase in the number of young people who have reported having depression and other mental illness problems.
The article looks at specific cases where GP’s have treated teenagers who have suffered with depression and self-harming. There has been evidence of these young adults recovering and becoming happier through being weaned off extreme social media interaction. The question is does this suggest a direct causation.
The article particularly draws upon a study done by the Royal Society of Public Health from 2017. They asked 1,500 young people aged 11-25 to track their moods while using the five most popular social media sites.
It suggested Snapchat and Instagram were the most likely to inspire feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Students that want to apply for PBS or Experimental Psychology may want to look into why this could be and what elements of this relationship could prompt these feelings.
Feelings of anxiety and inadequacy are hard to point down and are often very wide ranging and diverse. Children are engaging in excessive gaming and interaction on social media means they are opening up themselves to different platforms and virtual worlds in which they are exposed various elements of comparison through a constant bombardment of social media images of other people’s lives. The potential for cyber bullying is also much wider now than ever before.
Students looking to apply for HSPS may want to look into the trends which have allowed social media to permeate into young people’s lives and the potential consequences and trends that result from this. Social media can also have positive influences, through helping the connection of relationships. However, how can the negative aspects be reduced whilst still enhancing the positives?