The conversation around social media’s negative impact on mental health has been public speculation. Over the past few years, high-profile celebrities have spoken out about the growing pressures caused by using social media.
Is social media stressing us out? According to research, it appears that the mental strain social media can have on consumers can encompass unhappiness, anxiety and even depression. Facebook’s own research team admitted in a December 2017 release that “when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information—reading but not interacting with people—they report feeling worse afterward.”
In addition, an Origin study released in March 2018 revealed that 34% of generation Z were quitting social media permanently, with 35% saying there’s too much negativity and 29% stating that it “tears apart their self-esteem.” Sick of the barrage, I myself deleted my Facebook account permanently and quit a host of other social media platforms over the past two years.
Social media companies are attempting to regain trust by putting consumer wellbeing first, says a special report by JWT Intelligence. Facebook has an “online wellbeing” section on its site which includes a Youth Portal, helping young people use the platform in moderation and appropriately.
Instagram debuted a Wellbeing division in April 2018, a team dedicated to making the social media platform a healthier space to visit. One of the first tasks was to filter bullying comments to “foster kindness within the community.” Remember the #ChooseKindness campaign we ran in October? It was part of the global campaign that went viral.
Google launched a new Digital Wellbeing initiative in May 2018 aiming to help users find the “right balance” by monitoring habits. As part of the program, YouTube introduced its Take a Break feature, which allows viewers to install custom reminders to take a breather from any online bingeing. Similarly, Facebook and Instagram have introduced time management features to prevent overusage.
But is this enough? Probably not, but it’s the start of finding a measured way to use social media before the next generation bails on it.
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The CSR Journal Team