Steven Conrad Jr.

Staff Writer

Social media is one of the most innovative things in the modern world. It certainly has changed the way humans live their lives. It brings a lot of positive and even some negative things along with it. The age demographic affected the most by it are college students. They are the ones who spend the most time using it. They are the ones who are growing up with it playing a significant role in their everyday lives.

Today, we look at one college student. Their life got flipped upside down due to it. This student will be anonymous for privacy reasons. This student, a 21-year-old male; who commutes to and from school, lets social media get the best of him. He is not the only student who reported social media related mental health issues.

According to medium.com, “The most common issues associated with college students’ mental health and social media use are depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, body image, sleeping problems, social isolation, and emotional difficulties. About 41.6% of college students have stated that anxiety is a top concern. In an article by The Conversation, 1 in 5 college students have anxiety or depression and excessive usage of social media may be a leading factor in symptoms”.

Social but in isolation

My interviewee had this to say after I presented those facts, “I felt a little bit of everything. Major lack of confidence, depression, and the feeling of loneliness”. The anonymous student was generally a happy-go-lucky boy growing up. But the transition to college wasn’t so smooth. The constant scrolling on social media was a bad habit. Constantly comparing himself to other males who went to his school. Rather than being happy for someone else, he found himself very jealous. Jealous of their looks, girlfriends, lifestyles, etc.

According to Walton in 6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health, “One study looked at how we make comparisons to others posts, in “upward” or “downward” directions—that is, feeling that we’re either better or worse off than our friends. It turned out that both types of comparisons make people feel worse. This is surprising since, in real life, only upward comparisons, feeling another person has it better than you, makes people feel bad. But in the social network world, any kind of comparison is linked to depressive symptoms.

What do we do about social media

My interviewee can account for this. He explained how quickly his mind would drift off and consume social media whenever he had downtime. Little did he realize he was only damaging his mental health even more. According to Walton, “The more we use social media, the less happy we seem to be. One study a few years ago found that Facebook use was linked to both less moment-to-moment happiness and less life satisfaction—the more people used Facebook in a day, the more these two variables dropped off” 

Rather than enjoying college life he found himself staying home. He lacked all confidence in himself. He wanted no parts of the social life once the weekends came around. This was all due to him being addicted to it. Which is something a lot of people face. Now, social media does not have to be looked at as a completely negative thing. In fact, my interviewee could have a change of heart if he just changed his approach to social media. Which is something he has been doing as of late. 

I have been trying to work with him to get him back on track. This isn’t a persuasive essay on why social media is a bad thing. This was me using a peer’s experiences as a teaching point. It can be an awesome tool or hobby. But if you’re not careful; it can really harm your mental health.