Written by Aishwarya Ramesh
I’m sure that many of us have succumb to the temptation that is social media. Whether its benefits outweigh its negatives is truly debatable. Social media has stained and scarred many. It has affected, in more ways than one, the frequent users of social media. As a 14 year old myself, I have noticed the unbearable mental pain that social media can inflict upon one.
What is mental health?
Mental health, as defined by the World Health Organisation, is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
Poor mental health can be caused by many things. Some of which being, experiencing discrimination or stigma, severe stress childhood trauma etc. How many of us can say that we have had a perfect childhood? What is concluded to be common in today’s society, is the inherent presence of peer pressure. To appear attractive in the judgemental eyes of society is a goal for many. This is the root from which many mental issues amongst teens stem from.
With this out there, how many of us can say that we are truly metally healthy? The prevalence of poor mental health amongst youths has been rapidly increasing, given today’s social media enclaved society. Social media has resulted in an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm etc. Social media can and has definitely promoted thoughts such as inadequacy about your life and or appearance.
How is social media’s implications on one's mental health related to females?
This question can be answered simply with some statistics that I have found to be extremely alarming. A study with 10,000 adolescents found “frequent social media disproportionately affects teen girls’ mental health more negatively than teen boys”. Furthermore, girls tend to use social media as a way to communicate their feelings and judgements about one another and about their social circumstances, because they develop social skills earlier” says Jill Frey, a clinician at Capitol Hill Consortium for Counseling and Consultation in Washington, D.C. Moreover, Dr. Steiner-Adair agrees that girls are particularly at risk. “Girls are socialized more to compare themselves to other people''.
As seen by these sets of evidence, we can clearly see that females are at a higher risk of being negatively impacted by social media. The ideal beauty standards, portrayed through Magazines, Movies, Social Media Posts and TikToks, can cause one to feel insecure and compared to. These results are particularly distressing given the fact that females are exposed to much more online and physical harassment.
All in all, social media particularly affects teen females which calls for action to be taken immediately. As a society, we have yet to understand the implications which can ensue from this. With all of this being said, what I have stated is far from what we need and should know. What I do hope for is that this would have raised some form of awareness in each and every single one of you, to learn and to understand, and to subsequently step up to take action.