Poll Results: What impact does social media have on mental health?
October 13, 2020
Most people – over 45% – said that social media’s impact on mental health depended on how people used it – with differences being highlighted between specific apps, how often they’re used, and for how long per day.
Just over 41.6% of respondents said that social media had a big impact on mental health and they didn’t like it as a result.
For 5.6% of voters, the impact of social media is still unclear, they said they didn’t know. Nearly 5% of people said that social media didn’t have any impact on their mental health, while 2.4% said that although it had an impact it was a positive one.
It wasn’t lost on us, asking people over Facebook what they thought of social media, but we all know that sometimes humans use things even though we know they aren’t always good for us. And clearly many believe that social media has a detrimental effect, regardless of how often people use it.
A report by the Royal Society for Public Health published in 2017, proved that social media was a huge part of life in the UK now – with Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of RSPH saying that social media has “become a space in which we form and build relationships, shape self-identity, express ourselves, and learn about the world around us; it is intrinsically linked to mental health”.
Young people in particular are affected by social media, with the same report revealing that 90% of young people use social media and rates of anxiety and depression have risen 70% in the past 25 years.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “Overwhelmingly technology is a force for good, but we are seeing more and more evidence that children using social media sites for hours on end each day is having a detrimental impact on their mental health.
“I want to empower parents to keep their children safe in the digital age which is why I’ve asked the Chief Medical Officer to draw up helpful guidance to allow them to make an informed choice.”
As Covid-19 has kept families and friends apart, more people have taken to social media to keep connections up to date. In addition to stress caused by the pandemic, mental health conditions caused by social media (including anxiety, insomnia and isolation) have increased since the beginning of lockdown.