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The intense use of social media and how it increases anxiety issues

By Rayanny Paula

July 21, 2022

UPDATED 12:00 PM EST



[Photo Credit: The State Press]

Have you ever asked yourself how many hours you spend daily on social media? Or how it affects your own brain and, subsequently, your mental health?

When was the last time you watched a whole video without speeding its velocity?

According to a study from the Technical University of Denmark, the attention span over the years had been decreasing among the generations. Research about trends and hashtags in social media was made to measure their duration and, as the result, meanwhile a hashtag in the daily top 50 hashtags on Twitter in 2013 stayed in the top 50 for 17.5 hours, in 2016, it gradually decreased to 11.9 hours.

Another article from The Indienpedent collected many reports from youths between 21 to 24 years confessing how their capacity on watching long videos was negatively affected by their increase in consuming social media content.

During the quarantine of Covid-19, the possibilities of socializing and communication between peers were limited to apps and social media. We cannot deny their importance, as the only way to get yourself known about the outside world, but, as the intensity of the usage of these media increased exponentially, unfortunately, this rising also brought negative consequences.

A study developed by the Hasanuddin University’s Psychology Department named “The Relationship Between the Intensity of Using Tik Tok Social Media and Stress Level Among Teenagers in Makassar City During the Pandemic” has revealed that there is a significant positive correlation between the intensity of using the social media tik tok and the level of stress. The research was made among teenagers in Makassar City during the pandemic, but, we can easily compare it to a bigger public level, as those symptoms (lessening in attention span, stress, anxiety, and short-term memory loss) are accurate in a worldwide young population.

“In addition, quoted through the Jawapos.com news page, it states that as many as 60% of teenagers experience stress due to excessive use of social media. […] influence of social media can have an impact on stress, […] individuals are worried about their privacy and […] the number of people who like posts and comments on their social media”.

Dr. David Barnhart, a clinical mental health counselor at Behavioral Sciences of Alabama, once said that the way a person sees herself can be affected by the high consumption of videos and social media. TikTok users can be exposed to dozens of videos within minutes, addicting their brains by constantly activating the reward pathway, and seeking constant stimulation all the time.

Depression and anxiety are the main consequences of extrapolated use of social media. Changes such as sleep patterns, headaches, insomnia, difficulty in interacting, mood swings, and stress manifestations (all of them easily triggered during adolescence) are some of the physical symptoms. Taking care of your daily use of social media and content is essential nowadays, and the benefits of this early control will prevent many other future mental issues.


References

Miller, Kellie. “How Tiktok Is Affecting Your Brain and Mental Health.” Https://Www.waff.com, 19 Mar. 2022, https://www.waff.com/2022/03/19/how-tiktok-is-affecting-your-brain-mental-health/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CAll%20of%20that%20stuff%20exacerbates,can%20distort%20our%20self%2Dimage.

Davis, Margaret. “Tiktok Is Bad for Your Brain: Constant Social Media Streaming Narrows Collective Attention Span, Adversely Affects Mental Health.” Science Times, 25 Oct. 2021, https://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/34138/20211025/tiktok-bad-brain-constant-social-media-streaming-narrows-collective-attention.htm.

Ismail, Nur Syamsu, et al. “The Relationship between the Intensity of Using Tik Tok Social Media and Stress Level among Teenagers in Makassar City during the Pandemic.” The Relationship Between the Intensity of Using Tik Tok Social Media and Stress Level Among Teenagers in Makassar City During the Pandemic | Atlantis Press, Atlantis Press, 11 Feb. 2022, https://www.atlantis-press.com/proceedings/icphs-21/125970246.

Martin, Chloe. “Has Tiktok Made Our Attention Spans Shorter?” The Indiependent, 16 Aug. 2020, https://www.indiependent.co.uk/has-tiktok-made-our-attention-spans-shorter/.

Lehmann, Sune, et al. “Abundance of Information Narrows Our Collective Attention Span.” EurekAlert!, 15 Apr. 2019, https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/490177.


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