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What is the TRUE relation between social media and mental health?

As usual, I’m always happy to see constant new research and studies published linking social media and our mental health or societal expectations.

The BBC published a piece on a recent Oxford study. They found no correlation between technology use and mental health issues in teenagers.

I have always been drawn to how, when, and why we use social media. How does it affect us mentally? My first blog was even called Philip on Tech!

The basis of the study was a sliding scale teenagers used to rate their online usage and also their general wellness.

An important point is that they were not asked how they use that time online.

I’ll have to delve into this study to find out more, but I instantly had a lot of questions. One being around the point that yes, social media usage may not directly affect a teenager’s mental health.

But, what are the events, actions, and reactions surrounding it though?

Another important aspect is the social developments we have made around technology. How does that affects teenagers’ thought process, their patience, their expectations, and general outlook.

All of these things contribute to a teenagers (specifically in this scenario) mental health wellbeing.

If you consider a Millenial teenager. If they forgot they had a test at school, but only remembered that morning. There would be panic and worry, and the entire school day would be full of stress and anxiety because there wasn’t much they could do about it.

Today, forgetting about that test means simply cramming in some Google searches or opening up the cloud for your notes. That’s not to say is no stress at all, but there are ways to diffuse that anxiety somewhat.

Another aspect to consider is how social media plays a large role in offsetting anxiety, frustrations, and stress. Technology is also used as a form of relief and distraction which can mask your feelings and emotions towards your real life.

It’s important to shine a light on this because many will not realise. This means that you are not truly confronting and acknowledging your anxiety.

So, a simple question around ‘how are you feeling’ can be heavily misconstrued if not dissected.

This is just one small example, but gives you an example of how much of an impact technology has on mental health. And that is without there being and direct correlation between the two.

We live in a world of cyberbullying and trolling too of course, but it’s important to understand both sides of the coin in terms of how technology is integrated into our lives for the better, as well as hinders us.

Having to understand technology in relation to mental health is a complete conversation, but as with anything needs to be understood from every direction and angle possible.

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