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Sample Research Paper on Social Media's Effects on College Students' Mental Health

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Sample Research Paper on Social Media's Effects on College Students' Mental Health

 

The social media involves the use of tools and other application software in a computer to create information that is later shared in form of ideas, photos or videos within the computer created communities. The information shared is internet enabled. Compared to other traditional means of communication or passing of information, social media is fast or instant and therefore information received receives instant replies. Information through some media also reaches a much wider audience. Some of the social media include facebook, twitter, and whatsapp among other social platforms (Castelnovo, Walter & Elena Ferrari 221)

The over use of social media however has a serious effect on the mental health of a person if it is excessively used. The unregulated use is harmful to mental health. The advent of social media has made it very easy to influence different aspects of social life. These effects go beyond communication done online. There is therefore little research to explore the full effects of social media use to the mental health of the user. Statistics show that social media use is concentrated among the younger generation; it therefore implies bigger parts of their development takes place in the social media and is thus prone to any potential damages. A mental damage is considered one of the most serious resulting damage.

Students in colleges have been the greatest culprits of mental effects resulting to the use of social media. College students suffer from this because of the fact that they have constant access to the media. Learning materials are now all accessible from the internet. There is a greater temptation to login to the internet to access one of the social media.

Social media has been around for a decade now and numerous studies have been done to find out how the mental and emotional health is affected. Social media therefore has had significant effects on the mental health of college students on one way or another. Some include:

Addictive Nature of Social Media

Most studies indicate that people login to facebook several times a day. In the US for example, 63% are on facebook on each day whereas the other percentage are on at least one of the other social sites like twitter. There are many reasons why people login to these sites, could be for fun, to read updates, make updates, advertise, get updates on what is happening on the social; scenes, gossip and other social reasons. However, the total effect of these behaviors lead to addiction and this affects the mental health of the students using it. Addiction makes it difficult to stop using it (Rosenberg and Feder 124)

Loss of Identity

Each individual is unique and different depending on several factors. The identity of an individual derives from upbringing, society, rituals and positive influences in the societal setting. However, most often than not the social media creates images of what ought to be ideal and is considered ideal in the social media. What the students see most likely makes them want to compare themselves to others or are forced to act like others in the social media to remain trendy and like others. The comparisons are not fair because it destroys the lives of the students who are forced to adapt to a new behavior that is trending in the social media.

Loss of identity is a mental problem and leads distaste for personal character for another’s. College students are greatly influence by few groups that seem likable to the rest and therefore to get a sense of belonging, the isolated students join the trending groups.

Cause of Restlessness

College students have found themselves admitted to the social media to the extent that they do not feel relaxed or they cannot concentrate on other academic activities due to restlessness. The students are unable to relax at all and this affects the overall performance in class work. Restlessness is as a result on an unsettled mind.

Cyber Bullying

According to the statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), cyber bullying is on the rise. This increase means that the privileges that come with the social media have been abused. The continued use and such bullying have led to serious mental issues within the student fraternity but the students suffer in silence. The pain inflicted in the cyber has led to serious mental effects on college students (Chawick 45).

 

Drug Use

The large number that uses social media in a day is worrying considering how much negative information has been propagated in them. Some of those issues glorified in the social media may seriously affect the students using them. College students seek identity and are influenced by behaviors of their peers. A large percentage of those in the social media uses drugs and makes it look normal. The more the users of social media are exposed and informed on drug use, the more likely they will be tempted to use them. Most people have adopted habits from the social media largely. There is a trend to glorify drugs and other ills in the social media (Loue and Sajatovic, 131).

Antisocial and Unhappy

There is a likelihood that those who use the social media are likely bound to be unhappy compared to their peers who visit the social media less often. Social media also makes students antisocial to each other in real live.  There is a tendency to make all communications over the internet to the extent that real physical interaction has been ignored. The total effect of this is that there will be less interaction and socializing. Marginalization has been known to develop out of antisocial behavior and ends up making students feel like they do not matter. All these affect the mind of the students and their normal development.

Pressure to Be Online

Social media is awash with very many events. So much happens in the social media every minute and there is far to miss out. The pressure to attend as many events in the social media and follow every update creates immense pressure for the students. This pressure makes them lose concentration in their class work. Users of the social media also create fake profiles that do not reflect their real achievements in life. This is bound to create more pressure on the students to want to be like them. The realization that they still have a long way to achieve makes them lose hope and despair. Students may feel like they are not smart enough or are not doing enough to get there.

Multitasking With Social Media

Students have poor processing of information when they multitask.  Operators of social media have a tendency to try to concentrate on academic as and at the same time social media. Human brain is not very good at serving two masters at a time. The effect of multitasking causes a total switch off the brain. College students need to concentrate more on the academics more (Nabi and Oliver 262).

            Whereas there are several negative effects of social media, some are positive to the students when used in moderation. There is growing need for regulation of the use of social media to prevent excessive use. Some of the positive include:

Connectivity and Socialization

Before the advent of social media, there was difficulty in communication. The ease of communication was realized 10 years ago with the introduction of facebook. Facebook revolutionalised communication through the internet. Social media has been credited with improving communication. It is also seen as an avenue where friends are made. People with diminishing esteem or low esteem can interact with other people raising their levels of confidence. In brief social media has improved connectivity among people and friends.

With the improved connectivity, it follows that the levels of socialization will increase. The social media came to the rescue of the introverts or the shy in the society. These groups can now easily communicate with friends virtually. The group is able to chat with those they fear and as a result, it increases the confidence levels of these users.

 

Addiction

Addiction is a term that has been widely used when making reference to drugs. An addiction is developed after a continued use or abuse of a substance. However, social media like facebook, whatsapp and twitter is addictive if it is used repeatedly without rest. The urge to want to use it grows every minute we login. This kind of addiction is harmful to the health of thee user. Any addiction requires medical help or counseling in the case of social media (Smalley, Warren and Rainer 162)

Conclusion

Social media is an idea whose time has come and therefore there needs to be proper sensitization on how it can be used appropriately and in a responsible manner. Students in college should be discouraged from using it while in school so as not to interfere with their concentration in class.

There is also need to develop a working counseling department within institutions to counter the influences of social media. Special emphasis should be on drugs and drug abuse. Students who have also been subjected to cyber bullying need to counseling to prevent them from committing suicide or other incidentals to it. Guidance and counseling also helps the students in making a wise choice when it comes to social medial usage in a responsible manner.

Social media has enjoyed unregulated operation and therefore there are many excesses that have been committed. Various individual rights have been violated and there needs to be a legislation that specifically monitors the social media. The question that has been debated repeatedly is if there is need to regulate the use of social media through legislation.

 Cyber bullying also needs to be discouraged at all costs. Cyber bullying makes students to withdraw and feel inferior to their colleagues. Most social media users are bullied everyday but do not get the avenue to air their grievances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

Castelnovo, Walter, and Elena Ferrari. Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on E-Government: Department of Theoretical and Applied Sciences University of Insurbia Como, Italy 13-14 June 2013. , 2013. Print.

This book represent proceedings of a conference held in 2013 known as the 13nt European e-Government conference also coded (ECEG 2013). The meeting brings together government technocrats from different sectors of the economy and the governments on sharing emerging trends in the internet and governance. The book gives a summary of several abstracts by the 40 member countries present.

Chadwick, Sharlene. Impacts of Cyberbullying, Building Social and Emotional Resilience in Schools. , 2014. Internet resource.

The book makes an in-depth analysis on how youth should cope with the emerging challenges associated with the social media. The book also lists several dangers associated with the development of the social media users and how well to overcome and manage them.

Loue, Sana, and Martha Sajatovic. Determinants of Minority Mental Health and Wellness. New York: Springer, 2009. Print.

Loue and Sajatovic make an in-depth analysis on the effects of social media to the mental wellbeing and health. The authors make an array of scenarios making reference to historical factors, migration, issues of mental health among the minorities and the immigrants in the U.S, religion, culture, gender, family, drug abuse among other social considerations that influence the wellbeing of an individual. The writers conclude by making a summary of how to cope with stress and challenges faced making determinants on mental health of minorities.

Nabi, Robin L, and Mary B. Oliver. The Sage Handbook of Media Processes and Effects. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2009. Print.

The authors in appreciating the changes that have occurred for the past 20 years since the advent of social media, looks and the various research methods used to give the correct analysis of the media trend. They carry out several studies on the effects of media and social media on the users. They also look at various theories and relate to the media use. The comprehensive effects of social media on several aspects of the society and there use is studied.

Rosenberg, Kenneth P, and Laura C. Feder. Behavioral Addictions: Criteria, Evidence, and Treatment. London: Academic Press, 2014. Internet resource.

The authors seek prominent experts views on several aspects and spheres of behavioral addictions, the uniqueness of the book lies in its thorough and exhaustive look at the addictions associated with social media use addictions, how to determine and probable treatment. The writer also looks at other types of addictions like love, food, sex addiction among other disorders and how to overcome them.

Smalley, K B, Jacob C. Warren, and Jackson P. Rainer. Rural Mental Health: Issues, Policies, and Best Practices. New York: Springer Pub. Co, 2012. Print.

The book looks at various best practices on service improvement to the rural areas all over the world. However special emphasis s made of the United States. The other makes a summary of views of prominent clinicians and other researchers as they analyze the complexities leading to mental health issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Castelnovo, Walter, and Elena Ferrari. Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on E-Government: Department of Theoretical and Applied Sciences University of Insurbia Como, Italy 13-14 June 2013. , 2013. Print.

Chadwick, Sharlene. Impacts of Cyberbullying, Building Social and Emotional Resilience in Schools. , 2014. Internet resource.

Loue, Sana, and Martha Sajatovic. Determinants of Minority Mental Health and Wellness. New York: Springer, 2009. Print.

Nabi, Robin L, and Mary B. Oliver. The Sage Handbook of Media Processes and Effects. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2009. Print.

Rosenberg, Kenneth P, and Laura C. Feder. Behavioral Addictions: Criteria, Evidence, and Treatment. London: Academic Press, 2014. Internet resource.

Smalley, K B, Jacob C. Warren, and Jackson P. Rainer. Rural Mental Health: Issues, Policies, and Best Practices. New York: Springer Pub. Co, 2012. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

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