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Can Social Media Cause Depression?

In today’s world, it is easy for someone to end up being obsessed when it comes to their appearance. The need to look good is nothing new, but what is new is the pressure that someone can experience through using social media.

They no longer need to be around people; the only thing they need to do is go online. However, while there is only so much they can do in the real world when it comes to looking good, there are many ways for them to change their appearance on the internet.

Picture Editing

There is no need for someone to be an expert when it comes to editing pictures, and this is because of how easy it is to do this through social media. If someone has taken a picture that doesn’t make them ‘look good’, all they need to do is to make a few changes.

In the past this may have meant that a picture was no good and that it had to be deleted, but this is no longer necessary. Through making these changes, one can make themselves look ‘perfect’.

Caught Up

When someone looks good, they are more likely to be accepted by others. In this sense, the need to look good is an important part of someone getting the positive feedback that they need from others.

However, if one is viewing pictures that have been edited to look ‘perfect’, they can end up feeling greater pressure to look good themselves. Or if they are already caught up in the need to look perfect, they may feel the need to maintain a certain standard.

Fitting In

Through playing this game, it is going to be important for them to maintain the image that they have presented up until this point. If they were to share pictures that were not up to a certain standard, they may fear that they will end up being rejected by others.

The need to fit in is nothing new, but what is relatively new is that one no longer needs to be in other people’s presence. Simply looking at a screen is enough for someone to end up being focused on whether other people accept them or not.

Approval

In the ‘real world’ people show their approval through how they behave, but when it comes to social media, it is shown in different ways. When it comes to whether someone believes that other people accept them online, it can depend on how many ‘likes’ they receive on what they share, and on how many ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ they have.

It might no matter whether they know the people who ‘like’ what they share or not; what matters is that what they share is approved of by others. Whether they feel good or not can then depend on how many likes they receive from others.

Interdependent

This could then set one up to be dependent on how other people view them, and this is going to put them in precarious position. Human beings are interdependent, and this means they need other people’s approval.

However, not only is it impossible for everyone to approve of them, it is not necessary for this to occur. One could do everything they can to please everyone, and this is not only going to create pain, it is also going to cause them to disconnect from their true self.

The Priority

If was to live their life based on their need to please others, they are not going to be able to fulfil their real needs. It then won’t matter how much approval they receive, as there is going to be a sense that something is missing.

This is not to say that using social media and getting caught up in the need to please others will cause someone to completely disconnect from themselves.

But if someone’s view of themselves is defined by how other people respond to them on social media, it is going to affect the rest of their life.

Emotional State

Someone’s emotional state can end up being defined by how other people respond to what they share, and it can also be affected by how other people respond to what their ‘friends’ share. And as well as this, how they feel can also be defined by what other people share about their life.

For instance, if another person has just started a new job or a new relationship, it could cause one to experience envy. And based on how another person is experiencing life, it could cause one to end up feeling depressed.

Hopeless

There are many factors involved when it comes to depression, but one of the common factors relates to feeling hopeless. And if someone is in a position where they are dependent on others for approval, and they are constantly comparing their life with people they know or who are ‘famous’, it is to be expected that they will feel depressed.

If they have been caught up in social media for a long time, they might not realise how it is affecting their well-being. Yet, all the time they continue to do the same things, it is not going to be possible for them to change how they feel.

Conclusion

The first step will be for someone to be aware of how their well-being is being affected through using social media. This is not to say that they need to stop using it, but what it does mean is that they will need to take a step back, and to reflect on what changes they need to make.

This may mean that they only use social media to connect with their friends as opposed to looking at what other people are doing. It might also be important for them to look at why they need so much approval, and to look towards their friends and family to give them the positive feedback that they need.

Oliver JR Cooper

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