The current robust development of technology has established a significant debate concerning the benefits and disadvantages of social media, given its increased use among nearly all populations, including both old and young people. The primary objective of this paper includes offering a comprehensive cause-and-effect analysis of social media in the contemporary world. In particular, social media is described as an electronic communication channel that enables users to create unique content, share information, ideas, and interact with other users via virtual networks and communities. Research concerning the impact of social media on users has garnered significant debate, with proponents contending that social media is essential for assisting the development and growth of business organizations through digital marketing. At the same time, opponents argue that social media use causes addiction, especially among the youth resulting in significant negative mental and social impacts. This essay contends that addictive use of social media results in social media significant adverse mental, social, and occupational effects among binge social media users.
Social Media Addiction (SMA)
Addiction mainly refers to a behaviour characterized by a recurrence of the urge or desire to continue using or taking substances that cause a debilitative impact on the user’s well-being. In particular, addiction involves four central tenets: achievement of appetitive effects, preoccupation behaviour, loss of control, suffering negative consequences, and temporary satisfaction (Sussman and Sussman 4025). These characteristics of addiction have been linked to binge use of social media among diverse populations, for instance, according to research conducted by Ji et al. SMA is one of the most significant contributors to adverse mental consequences involving personality disorders that affect an individual’s emotional, cognitive and behavioural patterns (898).
Social media addiction is primarily caused by neuroticism. Neuroticism is generally associated with the ability to control one’s emotions. According to a recent study led by Ji et al., individuals who engage in binge use of social media are often unable to regulate their emotional reactions effectively, resulting in the addictive use of social media. Social media use has both positive and negative effects. Specifically, enterprises looking to expand their businesses frequently use digital marketing strategies that leverage social media to grow their businesses by increasing their consumer base. However, users, especially adolescents, have been linked to the negative mental and social consequences of the addictive use of social media in extant literature.
The Effects of Social Media
The adverse effects of social media are primarily associated with its addictive use, especially among teenagers and young adults. In particular, one of the main effects of binge use of social media involves negative mental consequences. In particular, social media has been reported to cause GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) among users. Specifically, social media alters how the user feels or reacts to specific posts, resulting in anxiety, mainly when the user’s expectations are unmet. In this context, most users, especially millennials, often expect their content to be appreciated by peers or friends through likes or positive comments. However, in some instances, for example, users who may be overweight or persons originating from a marginalized ethnic community may experience stressful environments characterized by cyberbullying, neglect or increased social demands that cause anxiety (Flynn et al. 272). In this context, when such users experience an interaction environment characterized by bullying because of their appearance or neglect, they become highly likely to develop anxiety symptoms that progress to GAD.
Another adverse effect of prolonged social media use involving adverse mental outcomes includes depression. Like social anxiety disorders experienced by binge social media users, depression is mainly associated with negative attitudes associated with social comparisons of binge users. In particular, most users, such as adolescents and young adults, often tend to seek approvals due to the SMA towards comments and likes of other users (Ciacchini et al. 1). Most users, especially teenagers, would typically compare their posts with those of their companions, especially their colleagues. Once they discover that their peers have more likes than theirs, their feel neglected and dissociate themselves from the social world. \Consequently, such users believe that their companions, including family members and peers, are ignoring them, which compels them to isolate themselves from people who care for them. Consistent isolation and hopelessness are characteristic symptoms commonly associated with depression. According to research conducted by Priyadarshini et al., these adverse mental outcomes can contribute to deterioration in both work productivity and the social well-being of binge social media users (189).
Another critical effect of ASM use includes diminished occupational productivity. In particular, Priyadarshini et al.’s research conducted in 2020 concerning the effects of addictive social media use on the wellness of employees and productivity indicated that prolonged social media use among workers significantly contributed to diminished work productivity as a result of employees not meeting deadlines, destruction from normal routine activities of work, which compromises efficiency and the quality services provided (189). In this context, the negative impacts associated with binge social media use alter the behaviour and reactions of adolescents and young adults.
This essay has demonstrated that while social media may positively impact users, such as promoting business enterprises, its adverse effects on their occupational, mental, and social well-being are more pronounced. In particular, the adverse effects of social media are associated with addiction to these digital communication channels. The common adverse mental effects associated with ASM use often include anxiety and depression, which contribute to the deterioration of both work productivity and social well-being of the binge social media users.
Flynn, Hannah C., Sandra L. Mote, and Brenna L. Morse. “Social media and adolescent mental health: sounding the alarm.” NASN school nurse 37.5 (2022): 271-276.
Ji, Yi, et al. “The Causes, Effects, and Interventions of Social Media Addiction.” Journal of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences 8 (2023): 897-903.
Priyadarshini, Chetna, et al. “Impact of a social media addiction on employees’ well-beingwell-being and work productivity.” The Qualitative Report 25.1 (2020): 181-196.
Sussman, Steve, and Alan N. Sussman. “Considering the definition of addiction.” International journal of environmental research and public health 8.10 (2011): 4025-4038.