It’s quite possible that the rate of change in the world is at an all-time high. The advancements of technology over recent decades have revolutionized the speed, access, and attainment of information. One of the biggest advancements being social media – which has expanded global connection and cohesion at rapid rates.
At face value, this is all well and good – but what about the adverse problems it’s causing society? In particular, our millennial generation?
It’s not uncommon I’ll advocate for responsible usage and greater awareness when it comes to social media. It’s not about being anti-social – in fact, social media is a great tool. But the reality is, social media doesn’t come with a set of terms and conditions that directs users to the risks associated with its constant use. Or the fact that it’s a large causal factor to our state of mental health.
This isn’t old news. Over the years, research has increasingly shown how social media is impacting the mental health of millennials.
Anxiety, stress, and depression have been correlated with its ongoing use. Feelings that are often caused by comparing ourselves to the highlight reel of other people’s lives, measuring our worth on the number of likes or responses we get, feeling inadequate or FOMO. Even body image crisis (and eating disorders) are reported - fuelled by filters, Photoshop, and “perfect bodies”.
Despite its ability to connect us, millennials are becoming more socially isolated. In fact, studies suggest that rates of unhappiness and loneliness are higher than other gens. Feelings that are often exacerbated by our need for instant gratification – and not getting it; or because of our own internal judgment about we we’re at comparative to our peers – and then shamefully retreating as a result.
So, the question is – how many millennials out there are connected with social media, but disconnected with themselves?
It’s an alarming reality being faced – exacerbated by the last year of pandemic lockdown and increases in social media use. Which means more education and awareness are needed on these issues.
Until our generation becomes aware of the causative factors to poor mental health, especially the risks associated with social media use, then we’ll continue to be at risk of living an 'unconscious life' – one not only hindered by external includes and social media but completely controlled by.
Take the time to reassess your relationship with social media and set healthy boundaries. Your wellbeing and mental health are worth it.