Social media has dominated the way that students communicate for over the past decade. Pew Research Center reports that the 18-24 year old age demographic uses social media the most frequently and over the most amount of platforms. Additionally, “some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users” (Pew Research Center, 2018).
While social media is great in some aspects, such as connecting with new friends in new spaces and old friends back home, increased use of social media has also been linked to increased levels of social isolation, loneliness, and depression. “Facebook depression” is a term coined by researchers and practitioners that describes a person who spends a large amount of time on social media, and begins to develop some of the classic feelings of depression (O’Keefe & Clarke-Pearson, 2011). Instagram is most likely to cause overwhelming feelings of depression. This is likely due to the “highlight reel” of users posting the best aspects of their lives.
Health Promotion and Wellness can provide information on how to use social media responsibly and also strategies to reduce social media usage.