Social media platforms have become necessary daily, enabling us to connect with others, share information, and stay updated on current events. However, the widespread use of social media also comes with drawbacks, often negatively impacting individuals’ mental health, relationships, and overall well-being.

In this article, we will go through the negative impact of social media by looking at the statistics and numbers that highlight how it can harm us. From increased rates of cyberbullying and social comparison to heightened feelings of loneliness and depression, the numbers don’t lie when it comes to the negative impacts of social media on our lives. Join us as we delve into the data behind social media’s negative impact and consider how we can navigate these challenges in the digital age. 

Social Media Use and its Effect on Mental Health

Social media has billions of users on different platforms worldwide. While it has revolutionised communication and connected people like never before, there is a growing concern about its impact on mental health.

Statistics on social media and mental health reveal some alarming trends. According to studies, many individuals experience negative impacts due to the massive use of social media platforms. This includes feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety.

The negative impacts of social media use extend beyond personal well-being. It also affects youth mental health, with studies showing a relationship between increased social media usage and mental health disorders among young adults.

Mixed Views on Social Media’s Impact on People Their Age

There are different views on the impact of social media on people of their age. Some believe that social media has a negative impact, leading to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, especially among young people. They argue that the constant comparison to others on social media can result in feelings of inadequacy and a distorted view of reality.

On the other hand, social media can have a positive impact, allowing people to connect with others, share their thoughts and ideas, and access information more easily. They argue that social media can help people stay connected with friends and family and provide a platform for creativity and self-expression.

Ultimately, social media’s impact on individuals of their age will vary depending on how they use it. It is important for people to be mindful of their social media usage and to prioritise their mental health and well-being. 

Effects on Children and Young Adults

  1. Emotional and psychological effects: Exposure to harmful content can negatively impact children and young adults emotionally and psychologically. It can result in different feelings like fear, anxiety, and distress, leading to changes in behaviour and mood.
  2. Behavioural effects: Children and young adults may imitate the violent or harmful behaviour they see in the media, leading to aggressive or risky behaviours in real life. They may also struggle with impulse control and decision-making.
  3. Cognitive effects: Continuous exposure to harmful content can affect cognitive development and decision-making skills in children and young adults. It may also desensitise them to violence and lead to a distorted view of reality.
  4. Physical effects: Children and young adults who spend excessive, time-consuming, harmful content may experience physical health issues like obesity, sleep disturbances, and poor posture due to prolonged screen time.
  5. Social effects: Exposure to harmful content can impact social interactions and relationships among children and young adults. They may struggle with communication, empathy, and trust, affecting their ability to form healthy relationships with others.
  6. Academic effects: Consuming harmful content can distract children and young adults from their academic responsibilities, leading to poor academic performance and fallback from school.

The Social Dilemma: Unveiling the Negative Impacts

Research conducted by the Pew Research Center stresses social media’s negative impacts on mental health. The media’s influence on mental health statistics suggests a complex relationship between social media use and psychological well-being.

Understanding how social media affects mental health is crucial in addressing the rising concerns. The addictive nature of social media platforms and their impact on self-esteem and relationships contribute to negative mental health outcomes.

Social Media and Mental Health Problems

Social media platforms significantly shape individuals’ perceptions and behaviours, which can influence mental health outcomes. The continuous use of social media has been linked to increased stress, anxiety, and loneliness among users.

Youth mental health and social media statistics highlight the need for a more in-depth understanding of how online interactions impact people’s well-being. 

Preventing the Negative Impacts

Strategies to limit social media usage among individuals include setting boundaries, engaging in offline activities, and seeking support from mental health professionals. Promoting mental well-being among social media users involves creating a positive online environment and fostering healthy relationships.

If you or someone you know is facing mental health issues linked to social media, it is important to seek help from trusted sources. The National Institute of Mental Health submits resources and support for those struggling with the negative impacts of social media on mental health.

Depression Rates Among Social Media Users

Recent studies have shown that social media users are at a higher risk for depression in contrast to those who do not use social media. One study found that individuals who spent more than two hours per day on social media were twice as likely to describe symptoms of depression in contrast to those who spent less time on social media.

The constant comparison to others, cyberbullying, fear of missing out, and unrealistic expectations created by social media platforms can all contribute to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, which are common symptoms of depression.

Additionally, the curated, idealised versions of people’s lives often portrayed on social media can lead to loneliness and isolation in individuals who perceive their lives as less fulfilling or exciting.

It is essential for social media users to be mindful of their online habits and to take regular breaks from social media to protect their mental health and well-being. Seeking help from a mental health professional is also recommended for those who are experiencing symptoms of depression related to their social media usage. 

Social Media and Anxiety Among Youth

Social media has become an integral part of many young people’s lives, but it can also be a reason for anxiety and stress for them. The constant pressure to show an idealised version of oneself online, the fear of missing out on what others are doing, and the prevalence of cyberbullying are just a few factors that can contribute to anxiety among youth.

One study found that high levels of social media use were related to more levels of anxiety and depression among young adults. The constant comparison to others, the pressure to maintain a particular image, and the fear of negative judgment from others can all take a toll on young people’s mental health.

Additionally, social media can also exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation. While it can provide a sense of connection to others, it can also create feelings of inadequacy and loneliness when young people compare their lives to the curated versions of others’ lives that they see online.

To combat this anxiety, young people need to take breaks from social media, engage in activities that promote mental well-being, and seek help from friends, family, or mental health advisors if required. Parents, educators, and mental health professionals must also notice the negative impacts of social media on youth and provide support and guidance to help them healthily navigate the digital world. 

Body Image and Eating Disorders

Body image refers to how a person perceives and feels about their appearance. Societal standards, media portrayal of beauty, personal experiences, and genetic factors can influence this. For some individuals, body image can lead to negative beliefs and feelings about their appearance, which can be shared in the development of eating disorders.

Eating disorders are serious mental health states that involve extreme attitudes and behaviours towards food and weight. The most common types of eating disorders involve anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. These disorders can have a significant effect on physical and mental health that could have severe complications if left untreated.

Many factors can be shared in the development of eating disorders, including genetics, psychological factors, societal pressures, and past traumatic experiences. Body image issues, such as feeling dissatisfied with one’s appearance or feeling pressured to meet unrealistic beauty standards, can also play a significant role in the development of eating disorders.

It is essential for individuals struggling with body image issues and eating disorders to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. Therapy, medication, and nutritional counselling are standard treatment options for individuals with eating disorders. Additionally, building a positive body image through self-acceptance, self-care, and practising self-compassion can also be beneficial in overcoming body image issues and preventing the development of eating disorders. 

Social Media Negative Impact Statistics 

  1. One study found that massive use of social media can result in feelings of loneliness and depression.
  2. A survey by the Royal Society for Public Health mentioned that Instagram is the worst social media platform for mental health and well-being, followed by Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter.
  3. A survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that 24% of teens reported being online “almost constantly,” and 45% said they were using the internet “almost constantly” during the pandemic.
  4. Research has shown that spending too much time on social media can result in reduced levels of self-esteem and body image issues, especially among young women.
  5. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that excessive use of social media can lead to envy and dissatisfaction with one’s life.
  6. Social media has been linked to cyberbullying and online harassment, which can have severe negative impacts on individuals’ mental health and well-being.
  7. Studies have found that social media can be addictive, with some users reporting feeling anxious or stressed when they are unable to check their accounts regularly.
  8. Research has shown that comparing oneself to others on social media can result in feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.
  9. A study by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology stated that social media use can result in feelings of social exclusion and isolation.
  10. Statistics show that cyberbullying on social media platforms is on the rise, with 59% of U.S. teens reporting that they have been bullied or harassed online.

 How to Prevent Social Media Harm

  1. Limit your time on social media: Set boundaries for yourself on how much time you spend scrolling. Limiting your time on these platforms can help prevent feelings of anxiety, comparison, and low self-esteem.
  2. Be mindful of who you follow: Curate your social media feed only to include accounts that make you feel inspired and positive. Unfollow or mute accounts that make you feel uncomfortable or negative.
  3. Practice self-care and self-love: Take care of your mental and emotional well-being by practising self-care activities that make you feel good about yourself. It’s important to cultivate self-love and self-acceptance to combat the negative impacts of social media.
  4. Be aware of your feelings: Consider how you feel when using social media. If you notice that certain platforms or accounts are triggering negative emotions, take a break and reassess your use of those platforms.
  5. Set boundaries with technology: Establish boundaries with your devices, such as turning off notifications, setting your phone on Do Not Disturb, and setting specific times for using social media. This can help you disconnect and prioritise real-life interactions.
  6. Seek support: If you’re struggling with social media’s negative impacts, consider seeking help from a therapist or counsellor. They can assist and support in navigating the emotional challenges of using social media. 


The negative impact of social media on society is evident in the statistics. From the rise in cyberbullying and mental health issues to the decrease in real-life social interactions and personal relationships, it is obvious that massive usage of social media can have negative impacts on individuals and communities. It is essential for individuals to be mindful of their social media usage and to prioritise real-life connections and self-care.

Additionally, more research is needed to understand social media’s long-term consequences on mental health and well-being. Only by addressing these issues can we reduce the negative impact of social media and establish a healthier and more balanced online environment. 

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