The advent of the Internet was a factor in the emergence of easy and faster communication. Over time, users realized that there was a capacity to socialize and keep friends online. Social media has facilitated virtually connections among people regardless of their geographical location. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and other platforms are available today for socializing. In her article “What the Science Suggests So Far about the Impact of Platforms Such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on Your Mental Well-Being,” Brown (2018) argues that social media is harmful to society. Nevertheless, despite some potentially negative implications, these online communication platforms can benefit people and create conditions for the promotion of various industries by maintaining regular interaction and providing opportunities to develop the existing technologies.
The research discusses how stress, impersonation, anxiety, depression, self-satisfaction, and relationship breakups affect social media users. The study will look into each item keenly, analyze what Jessica Brown argues in her article published by the BBC World, and refute the key arguments. The findings will allow compiling a unified position on the proposed topic and making viable recommendations for potential improvements in social media applications.
People do business, create and maintain relationships, learn, and research using online communication platforms. By providing relevant statistics, Brown (2018) wants to prove that “social media induces more stress than it relieves” (para. 5). However, according to Newberry and McLachlan (2020), these sites have strengthened many areas, including the entrepreneurial one, and helped simplify shopping decisions due to numerous digital improvements, for instance, visual advertising tools. Businesses place adverts on social media where prospective clients and customers order and pay through electronic transfer technologies. The research refutes a Pew Research Center study in Washington DC, claiming that social media induces more stress than it relieves (“Pew Research Center,” 2018). Pressure and negative social sentiments can be manifested in different forms of human interaction. People using such platforms mingle together, improve relationships, and even meet their spouses on virtual sites.
In some cases, social media platforms can be resources for criminal activities, including impersonation. Brown (2018) mentions cyber-bullying and “a distorted view of other people’s lives” as the negative implications of these resources (para. 15). However, these reasons are not objective to abandon the use of virtual communication sites. Cybercriminals use impersonation to cause havoc and even defraud unsuspecting users. Impersonation is unlawful in most countries, but information and communication technology (ICT) students undertaking cybersecurity can be allowed to use it by practicing and testing their skills.
According to Dr. Reed’s research, social media provokes anxiety, restlessness, worry, sleeplessness, and the lack of user concentration (Reed, 2021). This may not be justifiable as other researches reveal that eagerness to do or high expectations, good or bad, may cause anxiety (Breuning, 2016). As Brown (2018) states, people using the Internet for seven or more hours daily are at increased risk “to have high levels of general anxiety symptoms” (para. 11). Therefore, the capacity to cope with challenging situations calmly and reasonably does not depend on whether a person uses social media or not. For instance, a student preparing for an online exam will face anxiety that may prompt him or her to invest more effort to prepare well.
While studies link social media to depression, it can be used to test one’s capability to handle difficult situations (Salari et al., 2020). Brown notes “low mood and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness” as the consequences of online interactions (para. 14). Nevertheless, users can utilize these virtual platforms to learn to cope with negative emotions. Learning to handle problems during depression improves critical thinking and problem-solving skills. According to White (2020), social media may be used as a depression level test. AI can predict depression and help determine appropriate treatment, which is a valuable perspective.
The excessive use of social media demoralizes and lowers self-satisfaction over time. Brown (2018) argues that these sites “make more than half of users feel inadequate” (para. 25). For instance, an entrepreneur who makes sales or adds more clients and customers to one’s database will find this fulfilling (Lei & Liang, 2017). As Newberry and McLachlan (2020) note, promoting goods and services on social media simplifies communication between the seller and the buyer, thereby creating a convenient interaction mechanism that satisfies both parties. Moreover, people who use such platforms to make friends and share their minds and thoughts will improve their well-being and live more happily, which is also a favorable prospect.
Social media is often considered to break relationships and cause misunderstanding among spouses or partners. Brown (2018) provides the examples of users who had “enhanced concerns about the quality of their relationship” by spending much time on social media (para. 37). Nevertheless, many relationships still thrive due to these platforms (Kinoti, 2020). For instance, a man who works hard and long may use social media to engage his wife, share interactive talks, and use other opportunities of online interaction until a convenient time when they can meet, thus sustaining the marriage. Thus, being used wisely, social media resources do not ruin but rather maintain relationships.
People have appreciated the use of social media to socialize, learn, research, and do business globally. Entrepreneurs can target a broad customer base through this interactive way of doing business. This is scalable to support current information communication technologies unlike traditional ways of business. Virtual meetings are also supported for individuals and corporates to engage in interactive video sessions to deliberate issues about businesses or their social lives. Personal relationships can be maintained, and when used wisely, social media resources do not make people’s lives worse but, conversely, simplify them and stimulate more productive and stable interactions.
Breuning, L. G. (2016). Stop anxiety by adjusting expectations. Psychology Today.
Brown, J. (2018). What the science suggests so far about the impact of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on your mental well-being. BBC.
Kinoti, V. (2021). How social media is contributing to breakups in relationships. Standard Media.
Lei, Q., & Liang, C. (2017). The New Media and social culture demoralized and demoralizing in China. Cultural Studies, 31(6), 877-893.
Newberry, C., & McLachlan, S. (2020). Social media advertising 101: How to get the most out of your ad budget. Hootsuite.
Pew Research Center study links stress with social media. (2018). The Digital Age. Web.
Reed, P. 2021. Do ‘likes’ cause social media addiction? Psychology Today.
Salari, N., Hosseinian-Far, A., Jalali, R., Vaisi-Raygani, A., Rasoulpoor, S., Mohammadi, M., Rasoulpoor, S., & Khaledi-Paveh, B. (2020). Prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression among the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Globalization and Health, 16(1), 1-11.
White, T. (2020). AI predicts effective depression treatment based on brainwave patterns. Stanford Medicine.