Using social media on a daily basis for extended periods can contribute to psychological unease, research from Aalto University School of Business has revealed. An analysis of information on 6,093 undergraduates at a highly regarded Chinese university found that while the immediate benefits of using social media are increased perceived social support and life satisfaction, consistent regular use was found to risk worsening or developing mental health conditions (including addictive symptoms, loneliness, depression and stress) and ‘nomophobia’ (no mobile phone phobia).
They also found that if a person has sufficient real-life social support, this can reduce the likelihood of them using social media platforms heavily, whereas people who get most of their perceived support online are at much higher risk.
The research authors commented: “Social media is a double-edged sword. Users need to pay close attention to the purpose of social media use. Although gaining perceived social support can reduce psychological unease in the short-term, the danger of upset to your wellbeing and of developing nomophobia shouldn’t be ignored. Practitioners who work with psychological disorders should recognise social media use as a potentially crucial emerging risk factor that might worsen mental health conditions.”