There is a very close relationship between the use of social networks and emotional well-being. This is now considered a basic tool that facilitates communication between people around the world. Not only does it have practical uses that provide multiple benefits to the public within their personal lives, but it also tries to meet their business needs.

However, the constant virtual connection can also help to develop a very particular type of addiction that arises as a result of the excessive use of this instrument. As almost always happens with any technological novelty, its inappropriate use is what generates a new type of problem of a social and psychological nature.

At times, people have become so used to the use of social networks that they have forgotten to analyze the great impact that its influence has on our daily lives as a society . They play a very important role in personal, work, academic, commercial and even romantic relationships.

Due to all these factors mentioned above, it is for this reason that they can generate various emotional responses such as sadness, stress and especially anxiety. The most remarkable thing about the use of this technology is that he has become an addict who establishes new modern social norms that are implicit. This means that the need to publish publications is constantly felt, which in turn are reinforced by interactions such as “likes”, comments and the addition of new followers.

Consequently, it is an activity that provides some satisfaction at the brain level, basically it is a temporary pleasant sensation. To be more specific, it is associated with a reward mechanism that affects the production of hormones such as dopamine. Each individual will develop at different levels of attachment, addiction or obsession, and will also have different responses and repercussions on mental health.

What are social networks and how are they related to psychological health? 

Social networks are platforms that allow each person to create a personal user profile, in which information is added that may or may not correspond to who they are in reality. In this way they will be able to share as much information as each one decides and socialize from them. Examples of this type is sharing opinions about particular interests and tastes, thus integrating into communities where they interact with people with like-minded tendencies.

These networks are just another new mechanism created by humans themselves to facilitate their communication. Each technological invention has had a different particular purpose , but at a general level it is considered that its main field of action is that people can express themselves freely.

Because the human being is a social being , continuously over the years he programs new means and techniques that make it easier for him to live in a group. Likewise, these resources are adapted to various situations in which it is necessary that some mechanisms of action can be carried out in a faster and more precise way. Consequently, it could be said that social networks currently have a greater influence than was initially assumed.

From the years of the 90’s, people began to hear about a technology identified by the name of the internet. The same easy gave the connection of people in different parts of the world through their computers, they had to be connected to this network which allows the exchange of information in different formats. 

It is through this same technology that new systems and programs based on its use began to be created. Eventually, platforms were developed that would have specific purposes, which meant that people began to interact with each other with a purely social purpose. Platforms like Facebook or Tumblr are just some of the initial examples that preceded more current platforms such as Twitter and Instagram for example.

New applications and programs are continually being created that integrate new functions, some of which are more attractive to certain sectors of the population. According to statistics, children, adolescents, youth and young adults are the ones who most consume this type of product. But this group of people is also considered to be more vulnerable to succumbing to the negative effects of their inappropriate use.

Do social networks generate anxiety in children?

Generally, children do not usually have easy access to social networks because their parents establish limits. However, there has been an increase in cases of minors aged between 11 to 15 years, this sector represents individuals who have begun to be part of these virtual communities. But they do not always have adequate vigilance from adults to regulate their use, which is a danger for them.

The impact of social networks on the group of children, adolescents and young people; it is evidenced in the statistics themselves. Simply by verifying the cases of cyberbullying, it can be observed that unfortunately the statistics remain stable. This means that these platforms are being used for negative purposes, which in turn is also a clear indicator that more resources are needed to monitor and regulate.

Within the stages of human development, adolescence is itself a crucial time. It is here that various life lessons are learned that in turn are associated with social practices that will facilitate your interaction with other people. In this way they will be able to become independent beings capable of building family relationships and also forming their own identity.

That is why social interaction between adolescents and young adults is strongly influenced by what is currently happening within these networks. Mainly it is a digital communication, the same one that has displaced personal face-to-face interaction.

If at first they had a more positive purpose, this has been relegated. According to experts in psychology, those who become addicted to the use of these technologies usually do so to counteract loneliness, sadness, exclusion and social rejection. It is a window to the outside world that gives them some satisfaction in interacting with people they might not otherwise know.

However, the effect called FOMO syndrome (Fear of missing out) arises . People do not always understand that the most appropriate use of these resources, eventually develop an impulsive need to consult these networks constantly. They fear not knowing everything that happens in real time, they also create emotional ties with virtual friends who cannot really verify their identity.

You hear a lot mentioning the famous “Influencers “, it is a group of people who represent a risk to the general population. They are people who create virtual characters that move away from reality by doing practices and giving advice that can be unfavorable for certain people. Consequently, his followers can suffer emotional alterations due to the pressure generated by not being able to be the same as their idols.

People live in constant hyperarousal , and this means that any change in their networks will generate anxiety. That is why it is very common to observe changes in personality and behavior, at a cognitive behavioral level they will carry out a transformation aimed at being able to live and please those who make up the virtual community to which they have been inserted. Pleasing and being accepted is its only goal to follow, which is why it has a fundamental psychological role in the emotional management of these individuals.

Does social networks generate anxiety in adults?

In the case of adults, the aspects described above do not change radically. The same problems remain but are extrapolated to other areas of personal life, especially when it comes to relationships and work relationships. The privacy of each individual is threatened due to the use of personal information in an unethical way.

Also, some individuals are more sensitive to creating virtual friendships than is associated with toxic relationships. Examples of this type are narcissistic photos, harassing comments, ego feeding, exhibitionism, eating disorders, and even self-esteem issues. Eventually people will face little tolerance for frustration at failing to fit into a specific social or aesthetic ideal.

In adults there are behavioral patterns that are oriented to make publications that try to nurture their ego, they will try to make a better impression on others. There is the creation of a false reality that will eventually bring negative repercussions on self-esteem . It is clear evidence of the lack of self-confidence, all this arises because comparisons are made with other people and other lives.

Those adults who from an early age develop some type of psychological disorder associated with the use of these networks were in greater danger. The issue of self-esteem and personality would come into play, it is very likely that these individuals have deficiencies in their social skills and communication problems. In these particular cases there is a greater predisposition to develop a depressive disorder as a consequence .

On the other hand, the real personal dissatisfactions of each person are also at stake, they will try to be solved through the virtual world, which could be done in the short term. However, in the long term, in general terms, complications begin to be experienced to achieve total personal stability due to the influence of these networks. Examples of this type are technological disorders or addictions .

Limits and suggestions

This is an issue that can be approached from different angles, regardless of the resources or the rules that you want to apply, you should never neglect your psychological well-being. Most experts advise limiting its use to just 20 to 30 minutes a day . Regulating time is very important to avoid negative effects on a mental level, it also provides a greater opportunity to have habits associated with a more positive lifestyle.

Some of these platforms are aware of the problem that they can generate in certain individuals. That is why they have integrated functions that have alerts that help notify us when we have spent too much time using it. It is advisable to activate these same functions, which for example are available on YouTube and Instagram.

On the other hand, the parents of minors and adolescents must always be aware of what is happening in the academic and social lives of their clients. The purpose is to be able to identify in time those situations of abuse and harassment that can be controlled and limited.

The planning of leisure alternatives that are not necessarily associated with the use of digital resources should never be neglected. At the family and social level , interpersonal relationships should be strengthened, by connecting with other people by carrying out related activities such as sports and other recreational activities.

Social anxiety and depression are a problem that must be addressed by enacting responsible and conscious use . It is true that most of the communication and feedback we receive online is very common, especially for use in the work and academic field for example.

But eventually its impact may be controlled and limited to only apply it in activities that are really useful and that deserve it. We are all responsible for how, when and how; this tool is used for positive purposes.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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