The Impact of Social Media to Student’s Mental Health


Review of Related Literature and Studies



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Review of Related Literature and Studies

This chapter includes the ideas, finished thesis, generalization or conclusions, methodologies and others. Those that were included in this chapter helps in familiarizing information that are relevant and similar to the present study.



Related Literature. According to Matthew Hudson (2020),

Social media is any digital tool that allows users to quickly create and share content with the public. Social media encompasses a wide range of websites and apps. Some, like Twitter, specialize in sharing links and short written messages. Others, like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok, are built to optimize the sharing of photos and videos.

What makes social media unique is that it is both broad and relatively uncensored. While many social media companies impose some limitations—such as taking down images that display violence or nudity—there are much fewer limitations on what someone can share than there with other means of mass communication like newspapers, radio stations, and television channels.

Anyone with internet access can sign up for a social media account. They can use that account to share whatever content they choose to, and the content they share reaches anyone who visits their page or profile.

According to the Pew Research Center (2020), social media users tend to be younger. Nearly 90 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 used at least one form of social media. Further, these users tend to be better educated and relatively wealthy, or earning over $75,000 per year.

According to Maya E. Dollarhide (2020), Social media may take the form of a variety of tech-enabled activities. These activities include photo sharing, blogging, social gaming, social networks, video sharing, business networks, virtual worlds, reviews and much more. Even governments and politicians utilize social media to engage with constituents and voters.

For individuals, social media is used to keep in touch with friends and extended family. Some people will use various social media applications to network career opportunities, find people across the globe with like interests, and share their thought, feelings, insight, and emotions. Those who engage in these activities are part of a virtual social network.

For businesses, social media is an indispensable tool. Companies use the platform to find and engage with customers, drive sales through advertising and promotion, gauge consumer trends, and offering customer service or support.

While social media has its positive side, many point to the platform and call out negative features, likening its overuse to an addiction. Some contest it contributes to inattentiveness, stress, and jealousy. The National Center for Biotechnology Information links heavy social media use to depression. Also, many times, social media may be a conduit for misleading information and falsehoods.

The 2016 American presidential election has well documented accounts of the impact of the ability to spread false information through the platform. Such a phenomenon leverages the power of social media, allowing anyone to reach an audience of millions with content that lacks oversight or fact-checking.

According to WHO (2018), Mental health is an integral and essential component of health. The WHO constitution states: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life. On this basis, the promotion, protection and restoration of mental health can be regarded as a vital concern of individuals, communities and societies throughout the world.

According to Katie Hurley (2020), The verdict is still out on whether social media is damaging to the mental health of teens. This is in part due to the lack of research. Some studies show that online connections with small groups of people can be beneficial to teens, while other research points to a rise in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

The other reason it’s difficult to get a good read on the issue is that social media is constantly changing and evolving. Plus, no long-term studies have been completed. So, we’re left making educated guesses based on current research. There’s just not enough data to back up the potential long-term pros and cons of living on “likes”.

One study out of the University of Pittsburgh, for example, found a correlation between time spent scrolling through social media apps and negative body image feedback. Those who had spent more time on social media had 2.2 times the risk of reporting eating and body image concerns, compared to their peers who spent less time on social media. The participants who spent the most time on social media had 2.6 times the risk.

Results from a separate study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that the more time young adults spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and report symptoms of depression.

And another small study of teens ages 13-18 from the UCLA Brain Mapping Center found that receiving a high number of likes on photos showed increased activity in the reward center of the brain. Further, teens are influenced to like photos, regardless of content, based on high numbers of likes. Bottom line: It feels good to be “liked” and herd mentality is big on social media. Like what others like and you’re in.

There are some positive aspects to social media. It’s important to remember that teens are hardwired for socialization, and social media makes socializing easy and immediate. Teens who struggle with social skills, social anxiety, or who don’t have easy access to face-to-face socializing with other teens might benefit from connecting with other teens through social media.

Teens in marginalized groups—including LGBTQ teens and teens struggling with mental health issues—can find support and friendship through use of social media. When teens connect with small groups of supportive teens via social media, those connections can be the difference between living in isolation and finding support.

Teens can use social media to connect and create friendships with others, they also confront cyberbullying, trolls, toxic comparisons, sleep deprivation, and less frequent face-to-face interactions, to name a few.

Too much time spent scrolling through social media can result in symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. Here’s how social media can be destructive:

Focusing on likes, The need to gain “likes” on social media can cause teens to make choices they would otherwise not make, including altering their appearance, engaging in negative behaviors, and accepting risky social media challenges.

Cyberbullying, Teens girls in particular are at risk of cyberbullying through use of social media, but teen boys are not immune. Cyberbullying is associated with depression, anxiety, and an elevated risk of suicidal thoughts.

Making comparisons, Though many teens know that their peers share only their highlight reels on social media, it’s very difficult to avoid making comparisons. Everything from physical appearance to life circumstances to perceived successes and failures are under a microscope on social media.

Having too many fake friends, Even with privacy settings in place, teens can collect thousands of friends through friends of friends on social media. The more people on the friend list, the more people have access to screenshot photos, Snaps, and updates and use them for other purposes. There is no privacy on social media.

Less face time, Social interaction skills require daily practice, even for teens. It’s difficult to build empathy and compassion (our best weapons in the war on bullying) when teens spend more time “engaging” online than they do in person. Human connection is a powerful tool and builds skills that last a lifetime.


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