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Social Media is Making Us Lonely

To have empathy is the ability to understand and appreciate feelings expressed by another person. Excessive use of online communication can diminish and confuse an individual’s desire or ability to be empathetic. When an individual relies solely on social media for communication, praise and recognition there can be negative effects on their emotional and psychological well-being, if they do not receive the response they hoped for. These negative effects include heightened levels of fear, anxiety, depression, addiction and ultimately feeling lonely.

Addiction 

Addiction is when an activity affects a person’s day to day life. In a recent study by Brigham Young University that asked 143 married couples to assess their partner’s social media habits and how it affects their relationship as a whole. More than 75% of the couples reported seeing addictive behavior in their partner’s phone habits. Partners reported feeling lonely in their relationships as their significant others addicted meant more time interacting with online friends rather than having face-to-face interactions with their partner. 

Depression & Anxiety

Facebook Depression’ defined as depression that develops when youth spend excessive time on social media, predominantly Facebook, which then leads to classic symptoms of depression. According to mental health consultants nationally, social media has become an anxiety-provoking factor. Online comparison can result in insecurities, unsettling anxiety or fear of personal failure, which can also see a rise in self-consciousness or the need for improvement in your life.

When users of Facebook don’t receive instant gratification on their social media accounts it can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation and in some cases depression. A study by the University of Cambridge has found that the negative effects on well-being caused by loneliness are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, excessive alcoholism and obesity.

Survey

The following survey explores 22 Sunshine Coast University students, views and use of social media: 

Students were asked how they would feel if they no longer had access to social media accounts.

  • Not anxious at all = 4 students
  • Moderately concerned = 17 students
  • Extremely anxious = 1 student

64% of students identified checking their phone and social media first thing in the morning. Over half (59.09%) of the students surveyed admitted to using social media between 1-3hrs per day and 32% between 4-8hrs per day.

All in All

21st Century society dependence and excessive use of social media is becoming an addiction resulting in detrimental effects on well-being, such as anxiety, isolation, depression and overall, making us lonely. Social media has its benefits providing easy, immediate communication to users all around the world. Excessive use of social media can lead to addiction, which has detrimental effects on one’s well-being and social interactions. There has been a rise in anxiety and depression suffers, in correlation to the growing number of social media users. 

Social media is making us lonely.


Sources

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