How social media plays a role in anxiety and depression for college students

Some would say when you reach college, you start to reach that phase of your life before adulthood. If you’re stressed, should you blame it on teachers, blame it on yourself, or blame it on social media?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, some factors that cause social media anxiety disorder are interrupting conversations to check your social media accounts, telling people how much time you spend on social media when the reality is another story, using your phone in class and avoiding work to share posts on specific websites. Thirty percent of college students spend more than 12 hours per week and this could lead to them isolating themselves from their work, friends and family.

A study by Stanford’s Children Health found that suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15- to 24-year-olds. There are 25 attempted suicides to one suicide that happened. Females are more likely to commit suicide than males. The study found that 34 percent of students suffered from cyberbullying and only 38 percent admit it to their parents.

Limiting social media usage

A 2018 University of Pennsylvania study monitored 143 undergraduates reducing their use of social media to 10 minutes per platform, per day. The results showed reductions in loneliness and depression.

Research also shows that using social media more than usual can’t just cause anxiety, but also attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, problems with mental functioning and paranoia.

Studies by the American Psychological Association show that college students who use Facebook show signs of psychological disorders like staying away from family members and not being involved in group activities. Students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute period got lower grades.

For one student, social media
is a positive ‘getaway’

Jonathan Pelaez, 18, a liberal arts major is his second semester at Suffolk, said he believes social media can be a getaway from stress.

“Whenever I’m thinking of a test grade, I go on Twitter or Instagram to watch some videos to help me laugh and forget about the test,” Pelaez said. “I definitely don’t think it solves all my problems, but it sure helps me get away with problems in college and life in general.”

Although social media may have negative impacts, it would be unfair to not look at the positives it may provide. Social media provides a method of communication for students and an easy way to message each other through apps like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and iMessage. Another advantage that social media provides to college students is being able to gain more knowledge, there’s easier access to relationships.

According to Techjury.net, the use of social media, college students can also feel belittled by watching others party or be intimidated by others for their grades, which leads to cyberbullying. For example, if there’s a party happening, and you didn’t get invited you’re going to feel some type of way. Instead of trying to get invited to the next one, you shut yourself off and don’t make an effort for it because you have accepted defeat.

Photo: Jonathan Pelaez, 18, a liberal arts major.

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