The 5 negative psychological effects of social networks


In this article, we will look at the different negative effects that social networks can cause on a psychological level, and how they affect us.

Table of contents

Social networks allow us to connect with other people quickly and easily. However, the abuse of these platforms can generate addiction and numerous damages to our mental health.

Social networks have crept into our lives until they become an indispensable element in our daily lives. We check our mobile phone hundreds of times a day:

  • checking incessant notifications,
  • answering messages,
  • and checking frequently for news on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
This technological fabric has trapped each of us, forming an extensive network that allows us (and sometimes forces us) to stay "hyperconnected" with others. 

The quick and easy connection with other people has brought many benefits to society, as this has allowed us to build relationships, get to know other realities, express ourselves and open ourselves to the world, etc.

Although the internet has been a revolution, networks also hide a more harmful side with various risks and harmful effects. This is particularly important in the youngest (16 to 24 years old) since they are the most exposed to the impact of networks and, at the same time, the most vulnerable because they are in full emotional development.

Addiction in the psychology of teenagers
Adolescence is a time of life where questions are multiple: Who am I as a young person and future adult? What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? What does the Other want from me, no longer as a child but as

Many psychiatrists and psychologists have warned of the harmful effects that networks can have on the mental health of young people and adolescents.

Its addictive potential should not be underestimated, since the abuse of the Internet can cause important consequences such as self-control problems or irritability.

The 5 negative psychological effects of social networks

The bad psychological consequences of social networks

The abuse of social networks is a more than widespread phenomenon in today's society. This has led many users to experience more or less severe psychological problems. In the most serious cases, excessive doses of nets can generate a kind of addiction, as is the case with substances or pathological gambling.

10 steps to end your gambling addiction
You play too much, you can’t stop and you don’t know what to do? Here are 10 steps you can take to end your gambling addiction.
How to help a gambler? - The Addict Breaker
In this article, I will explain what pathological gambling is and how to help a person with gambling problems.

People who make improper use of networks may be unable to stay disconnected, showing, paradoxically, a tendency to social isolation and a significant neglect of work, educational and leisure activities in real life.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the abuse of these platforms is accompanied by a decrease in quality of life and mental health.

Many people can direct their entire lives towards the search for likes at any price, a behavior that can destroy the life of those who suffer from this problem.

Although it is evident that a misuse of networks is harmful to our psychological well-being, in this article I will detail the most common negative effects.

1. Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety is an epidemic that affects the majority of young people today to a greater or lesser extent. The studies carried out in this respect have shown that, for most of them, social networks are a potentiator of psychological discomfort.

Many recognize feeling more anxious when they look at their networks and see others enjoy and feel happy with seemingly perfect lives. In other words, networks are a showcase that encourages continuous and odious comparisons, which can be the perfect trigger to start anxiety and depression problems.

10 symptoms of depression that should alert you
In this article you will understand what depression is and what are the 10 signs that should alert you so that you do not sink into a chronic depression

Needless to say, the images that we all publish on networks are far from the reality in which we really live. We show the best part of our lives, leaving the negative for intimacy.

This display of joy and perfection when showing a caricature of ourselves is tremendously harmful to self-esteem, because we immediately enter into that perverse game of competing for who is happier and more successful.

Little by little, the nets have polished the world, they have sugared it, and this has made us intolerant of doses of reality. The obsession with winning in the perfection competition can lead us to create a fictional life in which we seem happy, even if we are actually broken inside.

This curious dichotomy that separates two worlds, the real and the ideal, can be highly harmful and contribute to increasing, even more, the problems of anxiety and depression.

2. Relaxation

The quality of our rest is closely linked to psychological well-being. This is especially important in the case of adolescents, since they are still in the process of developing and poor quality sleep can interfere with this process.

At the immediate level, not sleeping well reduces performance during the day, with all that this can entail.

Precisely because of the strong changes that occur in an adolescent's body, these usually require an average of two additional hours of sleep compared to adults. In this sense, social networks can seriously reduce the quality of sleep in young people.

Teenagers usually go to sleep accompanied by phones, tablets and computers, so even in the moments before sleep there is no technological disconnection.

The artificial lights on the screens and the continuous reception of stimulation through images and sounds can alter the natural production of melatonin, the hormone that our body releases to induce the state of sleep. This translates into insufficient rest, since you sleep fewer hours and of worse quality.

In cases of increased addiction, there are those who come to consult messages when they wake up during the night, which prevents regaining strength for the next day.

3. Self-image

Social networks are also a great enemy for the self-esteem of most users. Adolescents are especially vulnerable in this regard, as they have a huge desire to fit in and feel accepted by their peers. The continuous bombardment of perfect bodies and faces in networks greatly distorts the way in which the youngest perceive themselves.

50 Phrases to increase and improve self-esteem
In this article, I want to show you 50 phrases to increase and improve your self-esteem.

This can produce enormous body image problems and deep emotional discomfort, which can trigger serious psychological problems such as Eating Disorders (ED).

In recent years, cosmetic surgery operations have also skyrocketed in younger and younger patients, another indication that there is increasing pressure to achieve an unattainable ideal of beauty, which translates into continuous dissatisfaction with one's own appearance.

4. Cyberbullying

Another of the great risks involved in social networks has to do with online harassment.

If bullying in the center itself is already a big problem that affects thousands of children, the internet has allowed bullies to further extend their power, being able to continue their intimidation outside the school thanks to platforms such as WhatsApp, certain online video games or Instagram.

In messaging applications, the creation of harassing groups and the dissemination of images and videos without the consent of the victim are just a few examples of the ways in which many minors can be harassed by their peers.

Cyberbullying has devastating effects on those who suffer from it, causing serious mental health problems such as:

  • anxiety,
  • depression,
  • fear,
  • loneliness,
  • insomnia,
  • academic difficulties,
  • and eating problems, among others.

5. Fear of missing something (FOMO)

This is, without a doubt, one of the most curious harmful effects that can be caused by the abuse of networks. Many users experience a kind of anxiety that leads them to stay connected compulsively because of the fear of missing something.

Spending your life glued to a device that always has new information to offer is highly addictive, so it is not surprising that many teenagers find it difficult to be only a few minutes without checking their screens.

Of course, this anxiety is harmful to health not only because of the discomfort it generates, but also because staying focused on the mobile continuously prevents you from living real life.

Therefore, it is common for those who suffer from this problem to neglect their studies, their relationships, their leisure, etc.

How to prevent social media addiction?

Next, we are going to review some simple guidelines that can be of great help to avoid falling into the abuse of networks, since as we can see they are very addictive and a misuse of them can cause damage to our psychological well-being.

  • Set a minimum time between connections: Start at intervals of a few minutes to make it easier for you, and go up to avoid checking your phone continuously and distract yourself at all times.
  • Choose certain important times of the day when you will get rid of your mobile phone: Pretending not to look at the mobile phone when we are on the subway or in an idle time is not realistic, but it can be in times such as meals. Try to eat together, so you can talk and have a pleasant time without screens in between.
  • Turn off automatic notifications: Watching continuous notifications is not a good idea if you want to unhook yourself. Remove this option from your mobile phone, so that you will only see your messages when you enter the application.
  • Mute your phone and don't use it as a clock or alarm clock: many times we use these mobile uses as an excuse to connect. Instead, try using a wristwatch and buy a traditional alarm clock. This way, you will significantly reduce the number of times you get caught up with the phone.
  • Set yourself a minimum time that you must meet without connecting to do certain activities, such as reading.
  • Remove applications that are not essential, and get out of those WhatsApp groups that you no longer need to be in.

❤️ Enjoy this Newsletter?

Don't forget to subscribe here

Forward to a friend and let them know where they can subscribe (here).

Follow Me on Twitter @f_djiometio.

Disclaimer: This article is purely informative, I have no authority to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. I invite you to visit a psychologist to treat your particular case.