By Adam Meyer
Studies show college students struggle with anxiety and depression when they compare their lives with social media influencers. Andrew Aldujaili is studying to be an emergency medical technician at University California Los Angeles, his study is very time consuming but Aldujaili still finds a way to be on social media, but it isn’t always for the best reasons.
“Social media tends to make me personally jealous of others and their lives/activities when I’m feeling down or bored and it’s just a vicious cycle on my own health and self image,” Aldujaili said.
Phones are constantly in the control of their users, with this easy accessibility social media is now a detrimental factor to students’ lifestyles. Constantly looking at their phones students are more likely to have fear of missing out or FOMO for short.
According to an article by Caroline Miller on childmind.org young adults might be occupied with worrying why they weren’t invited to a party they are seeing on Instagram, or making sure they don’t miss a single post from a friend. But if they’re always playing catch-up to endless online updates, teens are prioritizing social interactions that aren’t as emotionally rewarding and can actually make us feel more isolated.
FOMO is becoming more prevalent in more recent times as social media grows, and Aldujaili seems to be one who experiences this along with plenty of other students across the globe. Constant pressure is put on students when it comes to fitting in with a larger group of people.
According to the Pew research center: on January 10th 2018 68% of adults in the United States use at least one social media site.
Having more than half of people in the United States using social media helps show the constant incline of depression when it’s linked to social media.
Emilio Puga, a student at the University of Hawaii, understands the consequences of social media towards mental health.
“Personally I think that social media isn’t good for mental health because, if someone with poor mental health sees all of his or her friends enjoying life… they feel like they are not ‘popular’ enough for social media, or that their friends don’t care about them, so I would say that social media is bad for mental health,” Emilio Puga said.
There are ways to combat these problems that students like Aldujaili come across. Patrick Meyer believes to have tapped into a market that helps counter depression when related to social media.
“And then people look at the fake lives and are like ‘well my life is not as great’ and they begin to become depressed,” Meyer said.
Patrick Meyer created an app that helps people who suffer from mental health challenges keep a journal based on how they are feeling at specific times and why they feel that way. Meyer’s app, Mood, has over 100,000 downloads with overall positive reviews. Users of the app write down how they are feeling at any point in the day and use an emoji to represent that emotion and the app tracks this and for many users, it helps them feel better.
Social media has been shown as a reason students suffer from depression, constantly watching lives that they believe are better than their own.