Bengaluru: Social media may have been intended to connect a person to the whole world without having to go anywhere, but the limitless exposure to the virtual world seems to be isolating individuals more than ever.
A recent study by the University College of London has found that almost 40 per cent of girls and 15 per cent of boys, who spend over five hours a day on social media, show symptoms of depression. City doctors too believe there is a significant rise in levels of stress and anxiety among young people owing to higher use of social media.
Says Ms Shamantha K, counselling psychologist at Fortis Hospitals, “There is a negative association between screen time and mental well-being. Teenagers these days are hooked onto the internet and are drowning in the virtual world, which is affecting how they perceive themselves and the world around them. They are also unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy.”
Social media also leads to constant comparisons and building of ideal body images which can attack one’s self-esteem, says experts.
Girls are more likely to succumb to the notion of a perfect body type and suffer negative feelings, they explain.
Dr Roshan Jain, senior consultant psychiatrist at Apollo Hospitals, says its an illusion that people get connected across the globe through social media as the addiction actually keeps you lonely and distracted. “Spending several hours on shopping apps, NETFLIX, data consumption, and so on can only make the person disconnected from his surroundings and real people. Consuming too much information can make your brain restless and lead to concentration problems because the mind is overwhelmed. It can also cause insomnia and anxiety,” he warns.
The rising Fear Of Missing Out or FOMO as the millennials call it, forces them to repeatedly check their social media accounts to ensure they do not miss anything, and this further draws them into the virtual world , triggering more anxiety and depression, say doctors....