Social media use is now part and parcel of our lives. If you use the internet regularly, you may have several accounts in the social media landscape from your email accounts to the more recent Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp. Although Social Networking Sites (SNSs) have made it easy to communicate with your friends and find new people easily. However, they also have a dark side, social media is used mainly by young people and it has been linked to mental health problems if used excessively
According to a research done in Canada, they were studying the “relationship between the use of SNSs and mental health concerns such as unmet need for support self-rated mental health and reports of psychological distress & suicidal ideation in middle and high school children in Ottawa, Canada.” This was because the relationship between the use of these platforms & mental health problems in children and adolescents was not clear. They studied a sample of 753 students from grades 7-12 from Ottawa.
From the report, some facts were revealed.
- 54% of the respondents reported using SNSs for 2 hours or less and 20.5% didn’t frequent it or didn’t use SNSs
- Students who had unmet mental health needs were more likely to use SNSs for more than 2 hours per day unlike those who had no identified need for mental health support
- Daily use of SNS (more than 2 hours per day) was associated with poor self-rating of mental health & high levels of psychological distress
- The report had a substantial conclusion: Students who had poor mental health are greater users of Social Networking Sites
So what does this report say in general? The study’s lead author, Dr. Hughes Sampasa-Kanyiga talked to the Huffington Post where he said “It could be that teens with mental health problems are seeking out interactions as they are feeling isolated and alone, or they would like to satisfy unmet needs for face to face mental support” He went on to clarify add on that “the relationship between the use of social networking sites & mental health problems is complex, simple use of social networking sites cannot fully explain by itself the occurrence of mental health problems”