According to some unofficial statistics there are more than 1.5 billion social media users who are active at least once a week. There is no doubt that social media platforms are one of the fastest growing phenomena in the history of humankind. Social media started as platforms for young people who want to stay in touch with their family and friends, but they are now used by people of all generations. We can freely say that social media have deep impact on our lifestyle and they also affect our physical and mental health. There are many people who want to find out how social media affect anxiety. Even though there is no strong scientific evidence that can help us get answers for this question, the truth is that most experts agree that social media have both positive and negative impact on mental health.
Social media networks are not the same, but what they all have in common is so-called social signals. Likes, re-tweets, favs, shares ? these are some of the forms of social signals on these platforms.? Some experts say that these interactions serve as some kind of virtual empathy. This means that the more ?likes? or ?re-tweets? a user gets, the more loved they will feel. However, this virtual empathy is significantly less effective than real empathy.
It is mostly due to this possibility to express your feelings and emotions in the form of simple activities that so many people love to spend time on social media networks. However, this also means that people tend to spend more time alone in front of their mobile device, laptop or computer and avoid real interaction with other individuals. As we are all aware, solitude is one of the triggers of anxiety. So, social media can provide short-time anxiety relief because users can communicate with more people at once, but in the end of the day, they are all aware that this is virtual communication and that this type of communication is not effective as real, traditional communication in which people can observe the reactions of other people and establish physical contact.
Isolation leads to problems in mental health and contribute to anxiety. On the other hand, there are stories of people who were able to find new friends and even partners with the help of social media. But, these connections have become serious only when these friendships were turned into face-to-face friendships.
Anxiety is defined as an increased feeling of unease, nervousness and worry usually focused on certain unavoidable event or about some event that we can?t predict its result.? This is exactly what social media bring. Users fear that they?ll miss something if they don?t check their profiles all the time (FOMO) and they feel anxious when they see that they were not invited to some event through social media. This triggers another problem associated with social media ? developing addiction.
There is no doubt that social media are linked to anxiety and unfortunately in most cases this connection results in negative consequences.