The last couple of decades have seen the way we live and communicate change beyond our wildest dreams. In a short time, we entered the digital age, and now the future looks like a completely different place.
And while the advancements in technology have provided us with many benefits, there are significant risks we need to take into account. Such as the increased usage of social media and the amount of time we spend in front of screens. I’m sure you’ll remember your mum or dad shouting for you not to sit too close to the tv. Yes, the good old days. Now we carry the little devices around with us and stare at them no matter where we are, whenever we get the chance.
The increase in screen time and the use of social media has been linked to increased mental health issues in children. And even as you read this, we are still in the early day and are still to find out to what extent they affect our mental health.
One of the main concerns of social media is the effect it is having on our children’s social skills and development.
Internet addiction is becoming a widespread problem amongst teenagers. And this can lead them to become depressed and develop low self-esteem, and coupled with a lack of physical activity. Technology can only have a detrimental effect on the generations of the future. And the scary part is we are still to realise to what extent.
Research has found a link between low self-esteem, loneliness, and depression can lead to worsening issues that were already present.
The reduction in physical activity alone can have a detrimental effect on not only physical health but it has also been shown time and time again that mental health can be impacted on many different levels.
- better self-esteem – being more active can make you feel better about yourself as you improve and meet your goals
- reducing the risk of depression – studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression
- connecting with people – doing group or team activities can help you meet new and like-minded people and make new friends.
Is technology linked to depression?
While there are links to depression, more questions need to be answered to give us the complete picture. Questions remain on the impact that the little things have on us. Like how harsh is typing on our wrists and how much does the blue light from our computer screen affect our eyes.
Studies have shown that the prolonged use of a computer can disrupt our sleeping patterns. While other studies have shown a direct correlation between the use of online social networks and heightened depression and anxiety.
So How Social Networks Tie Into Mental Health?
Not all social media networks are bad for our mental health. One such instance would consist of work friends and friends in which case, can have a positive impact. And act as a shield of sorts against depression and anxiety.
But on the other hand. If you were to add into the mix a dysfunctional relationship into the same group, it may lead to an exaggerated feeling of sadness, unease, and also loneliness.
Hundreds of studies have been done into the relationship between depression and social network working sites such as Facebook. One of these studies found that many factors need to be taken into account to get an understanding of the effects.
Some of these factors include our motivations for visiting the SNS, what SNS we visited, and how long we spend on each one, and how many strangers we interact with online. All these factors are crucial to our understanding of the role social media plays on our mental health, and because there are many, it’s not such an easy question to answer.
Is mental health decreasing?
Unfortunately, it seems so. Over the last two decades, the suicide rate per 100,000 has increased to a 30-year high, there is a surge in people seeking out help for conditions such as PTSD. The use of banned substances such as opiates has been on a steady path upward, while mental disorders have unfortunately been following the same route.
And is sad to say that although many mental disorders are easier to treat today than they were a decade ago, the number of mental disorders has been on the rise.
Hopefully, in the next decade or two, the technology we have at hand will help us to turn the numbers around and bring more happiness to our lives and the world.