Who doesn’t love social media? It offers a carefree escape from work and other cares of the world, promising continued entertainment at any time of the day. But social media may not be quite as mindless as you think. In fact, it has an impact on mental health, sometimes for good, other times, not so much.
Understanding the positive and negative impacts of social media on mental health is an important part of marketing for businesses. It shows some of the dos and don’ts for marketers and calls for certain ethics in the craft. To foster a positive environment for your business and understand the impact social posts can have on your customer base, here are some of the mental health effects of social media.
1. Regular use increases our propensity for addiction.
Some people are more prone to addiction than others, and there have been several studies that link the use of social media and addictive tendencies. Medical News Today has run studies showing that 63 percent of Americans log into Facebook daily and 40 percent log in multiple times daily. As a result of this constant social presence, researchers have developed a scale to measure the addiction to Facebook and other social platforms called “The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.” That addiction can be used to your advantage, but at the cost of decreased mental health for the recipient.
2. It can glamorize drug and alcohol use.
Addiction to social media can lead to addiction with drugs and alcohol. Teenagers are particularly susceptible since there’s a lot of peer pressure through online platforms. There’s also a lot of glamorization of drug and alcohol use in the media.
One study shows that teenagers who interact daily with social media are five times more likely to use tobacco, three times more likely to use alcohol, and twice as likely to use marijuana. The power of suggestion through photographs and social posts has a strong and dangerous influence on adolescents and illicit substance use.
3. It can improve social interaction.
Even though this interaction is online rather than face to face, the use of social media can teach basic social skills. It can also encourage relationships between those near and far, while making it easier for people to communicate.
4. It has been linked to the rise of cyber bullying.
A major downside of social media use is cyber bullying, which is something you never want to see in your advertisements or the comments sections of your posts. Enough is Enough, a group centered on providing a safer internet experience for adolescents, revealed that 95 percent of teenagers on social media have witnessed cyber bullying. A massive 33 percent have been victims of it.
5. It can be an education center.
There’s a lot that can be learned on social media in regards to pop culture and news. Adolescents and adults alike can stay abreast of what’s going on this world and join conversations that are important.
This is a particularly important benefit for businesses looking to market through social media. Because people can go to social media in search of reliable educational material, you can increase your readership of blog posts and other content through the platform.
6. It makes us feel inadequate.
This is due to all the comparisons that happen on social media. Looking through selfies and posts about incredible accomplishments can lead to feelings of failure or incompetence. Those feelings can often lead to feelings of hate or anger. Businesses posting on social media should take care to avoid causing this emotion through their posts.
7. It can reduce productivity and encourage multitasking.
Studies show that multitasking is very bad. One study from the University of London actually showed that multitasking has the potential to drop your IQ by as much as 10 points. People try to multitask all the time, keeping several unrelated tabs open on their computer as they surf social media and try to get work done in between. The result is severely decreased productivity.
8. It leads to sleep deprivation.
Everyone needs sleep for optimum health, but social media is a big night time activity, particularly for teenagers. It’s easy to begin chatting with friends and let the time slip away, late into the night. Sleep deprivation is bad for business, no matter what.
Understanding the way social media impacts customers in every way is essential for good business. You’ll be surprised at the correlations between great mental health and a thriving business, making it important to understand the ups and downs in the market.