Social Media is kind of evil. Data and research have shown this for a while now: if you are on social media, it is going to negatively affect your mental health. Despite that fact, the world still rushes to social media sources such as Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, disregarding their own wellbeing to stay on top of the news, connect with their family and friends and stay in the loop. This has put some of the onus of protecting people’s well-being on the companies that are offering the services, and a few are taking notice.
This has come in a few different forms, such as moderation by live people or even AI asking if you are sure you want to post something it considers malicious or bullying. Pinterest, on the other hand, is taking a different approach. When users enter specific search phrases and terms that indicate they are stressed, the website is going to help direct them towards more positive posts, with some of them being guided breathing exercises to try and relieve stress.
Whatever the intentions behind these actions however, each of these responses only address the symptom, not the cause. Once you are on Social Media, they are trying, poorly, to protect you and your well being without any thought as to addressing the cause of that stress itself: the social media platforms.
In a world that is constantly connected, social media is almost necessary for everything. Jobs use it, your family probably uses it, and news is delivered through it. Along with the good aspects come the bad; bullying, anger, and hate. The internet is a perfect place to say whatever you want to without any consequences to the detriment of yourself and others. By treating the symptoms of these actions it is easy for big companies to pretend like they are being proactive and trying to help people, but that’s just not the case.
It’s the platforms themselves that are unhealthy for humans. Simply by using them we are harming ourselves, but to admit that fact would be harmful to these companies bottom lines. So instead they try to bandage over the wounds; slap a band-aid on the cut and hope nobody notices. Don’t let them fool you though.
The only way to really help and heal yourself when social media has hurt your mental health is to avoid it altogether. Twitter, Facebook. Pinterest and Instagram are addictive and harmful. Instead of helping people to breathe easier, I’d much rather see them try to encourage people to use these platforms less.
Caleb Edwards is a senior studying professional writing with a focus in editing and publishing. When he isn’t working or writing you can find him tending his fish, taking care of his cats and dogs or trying to find free time that he can waste (there never is any). You can follow him on Twitter @CEdwardsSam or find him at his website CalebMEdwards.com.