Is Social Media Ban so bad for our Mental Health?

Is Social Media Ban so bad for our Mental Health?


On March 14, after Instagram and, previously, Facebook were blocked in Russia, many users experienced psychological discomfort. Clinical psychologist Andrei Pilipenko shared his opinion if it is worth getting depressed over social media ban.

Russia blocked access to Instagram. Yes, there are certain programs to bypass restrictions, but let's remember old times when there was no Internet and social nets with virtual communication, online dating, selfies on Instagram, etc.

Ask yourself now: “How did I live without it before?” Most likely the answer will be, “I lived well.” Of course, there is no denying that social media have the positive aspects: saving time, maintaining old contacts, entertainment, new information, and a way to earn money. Besides, they are “just convenient.”

However, social nets affect the psyche (especially of teenagers) not only positively, but also negatively. Of course, a lot depends on the content, but there is now too much negative information. Each person is unique in his own way and has his own strengths and weaknesses. Some information has positive impact on one person but negative one on the other. For example, someone might think “I want the same” scrolling a popular blogger's Instagram feed and will be more motivated to succeed. Another person with low self-esteem, on the contrary, might come to a hasty conclusion: “I will never be able to do that” and will experience depressive symptoms.

Social nets give one person the opportunity to inflict emotional pain to another person with impunity.

Online bullying (intentional insults and harassment) also permeates social networks these days. Of course, it is very stressful for its victims. They feel fear, anxiety, aggression and other negative emotions, leading to possible neurotic reactions. As a result, it can cause psychosomatic disorders.

Against the background of a new crisis due to different political views, fear, and aggression, people feel hatred towards each other, wish for death, and call for murder based on nationality. All this quickly spreads due to social media especially if there are photos and videos. People are social animals, and the impact of information on them is enormous.

For the younger, “digital” generation, born in the early 2000s, the ban on social nets can be a huge problem and even create a psychotraumatic situation, because these platforms have become a large part of their lives. Most likely, children could not imagine that in today's world they could be deprived of their usual life.

For example, the Chinese social network Tik-Tok, which is very popular in the world, is also a success in Russia. Thus, according to digital analytics, in 2021, there were 36.6 million active users in the Russian Federation. Many adults take a poor view of this social network, saying that children wasted a lot of time on “silly videos.” Tik-Tok is mostly an entertainment platform for “pranks,” various challenges, and imitating other people and images (video games, movies, cartoons, and comics.)

All of these factors affect the personality formation of the modern teenager. The child adopts “alien” models of behavior that can be destructive and suppress his individual self as the adolescent is always in “search.”

It is important to understand that the teenager who receives rejection or misunderstanding from an adult can show certain emotions, for example, aggression or self-aggression. There are many cases when teenagers were pushed to suicidal behavior through social nets. However, it should be reminded that the Internet is only a tool, and the cause of suicidal or addictive behavior lies deep, and it is not the children’s fault.

As for the social media ban at the federal level, chances are this problem will actually more complex. Children will get through being cut off from social nets in their own way due to their age and consciousness, while adults with critical thinking will do so in a completely different way.

The question related to social nets is indeed tricky in today's world, because media space can be “good and bad.” It is important to know what you want and to make choices on your own, with conscious approach to everything that surrounds you. It is time to ask yourself the questions: “What do I want? Do I need social media? Why do I need them?”

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