Lonely with Millions of Friends: How Social Media is Affecting Your Emotional Health
You probably check your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page at least a few times a day.
But did you know the constant use of social media can have negative effects on you emotionally?
Social media is where we go for news, entertainment, and even to seek comfort from others.
As I found out, the less we communicate face to face, the more isolated we feel.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what about the person behind the post.
This photo was taken by a popular athlete and track star at the University of Pennsylvania, just an hour before she committed suicide.
Many times pictures and status’s posted online don’t reflect a person’s true thoughts, feelings and emotions.
“We want for people to like us you got those little thumbs up button where someone can directly apply a stamp of approval to what we’ve done or said,” said Jamie Pfeifer.
Jamie Pfeifer Counselor Benson Psychological says social media keeps us closer to others but in other ways it has torn us further away.
Especially as it becomes a primary means of communication.
“If were more comfortable connecting with others by more indirect ways it can leave me to feel isolated, and other thoughts and feelings tend to get pretty dark when we’re isolated,” said Pfeifer.
A recent study done by the University of Michigan found that people who use Facebook have tendency to be lonelier and isolated.
Jerry Ackerman social media public speaker says isolation is one of the many troubling side effects that result from the constant use of social media.
“What’s interesting to me and I speak so much is that students come down after I speak and have a difficult time having a conversation one on one with me,” said Ackerman.
Ackerman travels across the nation speaking at schools; he says he has seen that many young adults have trouble with face to face communication.
“What I found interesting is if we both took our devices our and stood back to back they could talk to me all day long. It’s interesting and a little bit scary that the social skills are kind of lacking,” said Ackerman.
He says he has also seen it affect conflict management skills.
Something Piefer says can be called communicators who lack empathy.
“If I say something hurtful to someone else, I have to see the pain in their eyes. I have to see what that did to them. But now I can type something and kind of leave it out there. I can walk away from it, and I don’t feel as accountable for my words,” said Ackerman.
“It’s a very powerful tool”
David Westerman Communication professor at NDSU begs to differ.
He says people have got emotion across through written word for decades.
And for us as communicators, it comes down to one thing; attention.
“Comes down to attention. Like I said I mean poems. People have been writing poems for a long time that have gotten emotion across. They’ve been pretty successful at it,” said Westerman.
Experts say social media has changed our society for the better and the worst; they say when it comes to feeling of isolation and loneliness it’s all a matter of how are you using it.
Brady Jochin a freshman at NDSU says from his experience people are usually after one of two things.
“People actually are lonely and they try to go on social media I can see that being a good way, but most people that do post a lot they just trying to look for attention,” said Brady.
Westernman says the healthy use of social media comes down to two things.
“If you go on Facebook, and you look at your own profile, and kind of look at your own stuff you post you feel good, you look at other people’s stuff you feel bad,” said Westernman.
One NDSU student we spoke to agrees.
“You see all these people doing cool things, and even if you know them and you know that’s not how it is it makes you jealous. It makes you want that, or even that can cause you to want to post on Instragram and Facebook,” said Nicole Branstad student at NDSU.
So next time you’re scrolling down your timeline, stop, and think.
Take a look at how and why you’re using social media, and realize that there is so much more behind what you post online.
Recent studies have shown that more than 75 percent of all internet users have and use social media.