Impacts of Social Media on Physical and Mental Health (Research Paper Sample)
For this paper, you will compile the sections into one cohesive literature review paper that contains a title page, abstract, introduction, literature review, discussion/analysis of findings, conclusion, and references section. The paper should be between 8 to 10 pages and written in APA format and should include at least 8 scholarly sources. Submit it to the final paper dropbox when completed.
Impacts of Social Media on Physical and Mental Health
Impacts of Social Media on Physical and Mental Health
This paper reviewed the impacts of social media on physical and mental health. The use of social media has increased in the recent past, and it continues to be an integral part of human life. The impact of social media on users’ physical and mental health can be positive and negative. However, this review found that negative impacts of increased use of social media can be more pronounced. This review found that social media impacts physical health by promoting a sedentary lifestyle, disrupting sleep patterns, causing eye problems, and causing poor posture that results in bodily pain. Conversely, social media can promote physical health and fitness. In terms of mental health, social media can result in isolation, depression, and anxiety. Social media is also linked to feeling worthless, less life satisfaction, fear of missing out, and addiction.
The use of social media has exploded in the last two decades. The use of social media cuts across all ages, but the younger generation is the heavy users. The explosion of social media usage is significantly changing lifestyle and how people do things. Communication is done virtually through various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. There are also numerous interesting features that users can experience using social media, including photo-sharing and video streaming. Generally, social media has simplified how people communicate and share information. However, there are consequences that result from this new approach of communication and interaction. Social media has positive and negative and effects on users’ physical and mental health. Existing literature has linked high use of social media with poor physical and mental health. However, there are also some positive effects that those have identified. This paper will review existing literature on social media’s impact on physical and mental health and make an appropriate conclusion.
Impact of Social Media on Physical Health
Social media has been linked to reduced physical activity. The explosion of social media has resulted in a lifestyle where many people embrace inactivity. Shimoga, Erlyana, and Rebello (2019) investigated the association of social media use with physical activity and sleep adequacy among adolescents through a cross-sectional study. The study found that increased social media is associated with likelihood lower likelihood of vigorous daily physical activities among sedentary students. Similar findings were made by Stephenson et al. (2017). However, the study found that among physically active students, increased social media use resulted in an elevated likelihood of vigorous daily exercise. The study concluded that higher use of social media was associated with a reinforcement of health behaviors at both extremes of health behaviors, while moderate use was associated with the highest likelihood of engaging in physical activity and lowest sleep adequacy. The study recommended moderate use of social media as a way of promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Most social media technologies are sedentary and more use of these technologies promotes a greater sedentary lifestyle. The impacts of a sedentary lifestyle are also significant. Some of the health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle include increased risk of developing obesity, premature death, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes (Stephenson et al., 2017). Studies have found that adolescents spend an average of nine hours using various social media platforms (Stephenson et al., 2017). These hours exclude those they spend on schoolwork and engaging in household chores. Generally, girls spend more time on social media than boys. Even though boys spend relatively fewer hours on social media than girls, they are more likely to develop health issues associated with sedentary lifestyles, particularly obesity. Overall, social media consumes a significant amount of time youths can use to engage in physical activities, including sports and fitness programs.
However, despite the findings that social media use reduces the likelihood of engaging in physical activity or promotes a sedentary lifestyle, it has also been linked to increased involvement in physical activities. According to Barkley and Salehi-Esfahani (2016), about 50% of young people have reported engaging with health and fitness content on social media. Such engagement has been linked to improved knowledge in health-related behaviors, particularly physical activity, a good diet, and mental health. In social media, health and fitness often position physical attractiveness as the ultimate goal of engaging in physical activity. Health and fitness in social media also focus on the attainment of an external goal, especially the achievement of physical ideal (Barkley, Lepp & Salehi-Esfahani, 2016). However, this specific social media impact is not often witnessed on adolescents; it is common among adults in their late twenties through their forties.
Another physical impact of social media is sleep problems. Several studies have investigated the relationship between social media use and sleep. According to (van der et al. (2019), moderate and increased social media use resulted in the lowest incidences of adequate sleep. Daily users of social media report inadequate sleep. As already pointed in the previous point, social media consumes significant among users., including part of their sleeping time. Apart from consuming sleep time, the devices used for social media also tend to interrupt sleep. Social media has a statistical and practical impact on sleep patterns. According to Kaimal, Sajja, and Sasangohar (2017), high social media users report late sleep onset on school days and difficulty falling back asleep after waking up in the night.
According to Barkley and Salehi-Esfahani (2016), the bright blue light that comes from screens of devices people use to browse through social media platform has a significant impact on how the body process sleep. Specifically, the light disrupts the circadian rhythm of the body, which makes it harder for the user to fall asleep. The way social media use disrupts sleep is also explained in terms of melatonin production. According to Rzewnicki et al. (2020), a bright-lit landscape generated from devices delays melatonin production and, consequently, prevents a person from having a quality sleep. This impact can further provoke other health issues, including insomnia and depression.
Another physical impact of social media is eye problems. Social media has been linked to eyestrain and other vision issues. According to Rzewnicki et al. (2020), devices people use for social media, such as smartphones and tablets, can hold a person’s attention and consequently causing eyestrain. Besides, the time people spend on their screens, screen brightness, underlying vision issues, and viewing screen s up-close can also trigger eyestrain. Barkley and Salehi-Esfahani (2016) also found viewing smart devices in bed in a dark room is harmful to the eyes as the direct exposure can damage retinas and consequently result in macular degeneration.
There have been increased incidences of cataracts reported among young people than in the previous. Researchers believe that these increased incidences are associated with damages increased social media use has to the eyes. Many ophthalmologists are starting to believe that smartphone use has a direct link with cataracts (Rzewnicki et al., 2020). They are using evidence from increased cases on cataracts among younger patients rather than the typical older patients, which were usually 75 years and above. Another science behind the relation between increased smart devices and eye problems is the reduced number of eye blinks. People usually blink about 15 times per minute, but this rate decreases by half when they stare at screens. This effect can cause muscle cramps, dryness of the eye, even permanent vision problems.
Research has also found that increased social media is linked to poor posture. The way individuals use smart devices is believed to contribute to poor posture, and this could lead to musculoskeletal problems in the future. Gustafsson et al. (2017) found that there is a strong relationship between texting in smartphones and neck and back pain in younger people. Several technologies supporting social media promote downward and forward user position, which has been found to create unnecessary pressure on the back and spine. The effects of health issues associated with poor posture are often short-term, but they can also have long-term effects. Jung et al. (2016) also found significant differences in the craniovertebral angle, scapular index, and peak expiratory flow depending on the time people spend using smartphones. Based on those findings, the study concludes that increased use of smartphones can have a negative impact on posture and respiratory function.
Additionally, the finding that increased smartphone use for social media causes back and Goodyear Armour and (2018) confirmed neck pain. The study found that 70% of adult respondents and 30% of children and teen participants reported increased back, neck, shoulder, figure, or wrist pain from their use of smart devices. The mechanical stress created by using smart devices was also found to increase stresses about the spine dramatically. Such stresses are the main contributors of pain in the shoulders, back, neck, as well as the early tear and wear of the spi...
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