The Illusion of Perfection
The Illusion of Perfection
23 Dec 2023

The Illusion of Perfection: Unmasking the Facade Behind Social Media

It's critical to first grasp the denotement of depression in order to comprehend the effects of social media. A mood disease called depression, frequently known as major depressive disorder, is characterized by a chronic sense of hopelessness and disinterest. It may have an effect on one's emotions, mental health, and actions. It may result in issues with focus, rest, felicitous alimentation, making decisions, and carrying out everyday tasks. In its most rigorous form, despondence can result in cerebrations that life isn't worth living. The concept of social media depression is fortified by recent studies. Most research has concentrated on disentangling correlation from cause. According to the former, social media use raises the possibility of mental health quandaries. The latter suggests that social media utilization is higher among those who are lonely, depressed and dispirited.

What are the Risks Associated with Needing Approval?

People who are inclined to compare themselves to others more frequently may be triggered by specific types of social media information. In the event that these comparisons provide negative results, anxiety or depression may become more acute.

Facebook carries out a lot of research to find out what kinds of online interactions exacerbate social comparisons.

Facebook conducted a large-scale study asking 37,729 users from 18 countries to describe a time in the previous two weeks when they felt worse via comparison on the social media platform.8 They also inquired about the user's wish not to have seen the post, as well as the length and severity of the episode.

They used log data of respondents' activity during the preceding month, such as the number of posts they read and the amount of time they spent looking at the profiles of people who were similar to them in terms of demographics, instead of relying just on self-reporting, as most previous studies have done.

They discovered that social comparisons occurred more frequently when people viewed more social content as opposed to news or commercial information.

Observing social media posts from friends that received a lot of response, likes, comments, or reactions, was linked to some of the study's highest levels of social comparison.

More specifically, the frequency of social comparisons rose in direct proportion to the percentage of posts that individuals viewed in their News Feeds and received 20 or more pieces of one-click feedback. (Likes or Reactions), or got at least twenty comments.

It's interesting to note that persons who felt more social comparison experienced more positive and less negative content from friends. This implies that the detrimental effects of social comparison might be mitigated when friends talk about their bad life experiences.

Individuals who admitted to engaging in social comparison more frequently also looked at their friends' profiles for a larger percentage of that time as well as their own.

Additionally, individuals reported engaging in social comparison more frequently when they viewed more information on News Feed, profiles, or stories from people within a year of their age. This is consistent with the social comparison theory, which holds that people only compare themselves to relevant targets in social situations.

Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that social media's attraction frequently stems from its capacity to present an idealized picture of reality. Users often post pictures of their best times, accomplishments, and spectacular adventures, which causes people to make erroneous comparisons and feel inadequate about their own life. This behavior, referred to as "social comparison," can feed a vicious cycle of low self-esteem, making people feel inadequate or unsatisfactory in comparison to others' ostensibly flawless lives.

Furthermore, a continuous stream of well chosen content can foster unattainable ideals of pleasure, success, and beauty, which can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. The unrelenting quest for likes, comments, and social media validation can also strengthen a reliance on outside validation for one's own value, making people susceptible to swings in their popularity and acceptance online.

What is Cyberbullying ? What are it’s Effects on Mental Health

Social media may be a venue for cyberbullying and harassment in addition to comparison and validation-seeking activities. These actions can have a negative impact on mental health, especially in young adults and adolescents. The anonymity and distance provided by online contacts might give people the confidence to act in a hostile manner that they might not display in person, increasing the emotions of loneliness, anxiety, and sadness experienced by those who are targeted.

Social Media Use and Depression

Although there are other factors that contribute to depression outside social media use, studies have found a strong link between heavy social media use and depressed symptoms. According to a study that was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, teenagers who used social media more frequently were more likely to report experiencing loneliness, anxiety, and sadness. Another University of Pittsburgh study found that young adults were more likely to feel socially isolated the more time they spend on social media.

Social Media and Keeping a Balance:

It's important to understand that social media does not always have a detrimental effect on mental health. These platforms are great places for a lot of people to find community, connections, and support. People can share their stories, ask for guidance, and access services that might not be easily found offline via online forums and communities that promote mental health awareness. Social media can also be used as a forum to promote positive mental health initiatives, lessen stigma, and raise awareness.

How can you Conscientiously Use Social Media?

What steps may be taken, then, to lessen social media's detrimental effects on depression? First of all, developing critical thinking abilities and digital literacy can enable people to use social media with awareness and distinguish between true content and false representations. A healthy balance between online participation and offline welfare can also be maintained by limiting screen time, establishing limits around social media use, and placing a higher value on in-person relationships.

An Appeal for Accountability: Promoting User Welfare in Social Media Design

In addition, social media companies itself must put user welfare first by introducing tools that encourage constructive connections, stop cyberbullying, and give users access to mental health resources. Algorithms that value meaningful connections more than followers and likes can be incorporated to lessen the pressure on users to engage in online activity in order to feel validated.

Health practitioners and loved ones may be better able to support high-risk populations if they are aware of the ways in which specific qualities influence an individual's risk of depression.

Feelings of isolation, envy, and loneliness can be brought on by social media. Given that their brains are still developing, teenagers and young adults are particularly vulnerable. When utilizing social media, people with particular personality types may also be more susceptible to depression.

Depression is a severe mental health issue that can negatively impact all aspects of your life. It's critical to get professional assistance if you're depressed. Consult a physician or therapist without holding back if you're feeling overwhelmed.

Social media and depression have a complex interaction that is influenced by a number of variables, such as platform design, individual vulnerability, and online activities. Social media creates obstacles that might have an influence on mental health, particularly with regard to depression, even as it provides unmatched chances for connection and self-expression. We can optimize the benefits of social media while reducing its negative impact on mental health by raising awareness, encouraging digital literacy, and placing a high priority on user well-being.

How can Samarpan help?

Samarpan employs Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, which can assist clients in identifying factors that contribute to compulsive social media use, refuting false assumptions about the significance of social media, and creating more effective coping mechanisms. We also place a strong emphasis on accepting one's ideas and feelings without passing judgment and on living in the moment. Our methods can assist clients in managing addictions, improving their connections with technology, and increasing awareness of their social media usage patterns. We also employ group counseling sessions, motivational interviewing, dialectical behavior therapy, and other holistic approaches to address social media addiction.

Samarpan is a leading international standard counselling centre, which is staffed by experienced and qualified professionals from India and overseas. The counselling centre offers One to One Counselling, Intensive Outpatient Programs, Peer Support Groups, Family Support Groups, Psychological Assessments, Psychiatric Assessments and Psychiatric consultations.

Located in Churchgate, Mumbai – Samarpan caters to clients in a modern, confidential and well equipped centre – which is easily accessible. On-Line sessions can also be offered.

For information and how to book an appointment we contactable on Phone or WhatsApp on +91 81809 19090.

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