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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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INTRODUCTION

Throughout the years, technology have been improving rapidly. Which led to more platforms to exist in the internet. This could lead to both positive and negative impacts to the generation to come. As now people could exchange information faster than before. With the existence of social media, communication between two or more people are easier. Nowadays, we could put any information online. This could be harmful to anyone, as anyone with access to the internet could access that information through any technology such as laptop, phones and tablets. We live in an era where children have easy access to social media which is harmful to them. Social media is a platform that allows people to communicate and share information on the internet using a computer or mobile phone. (“Social Media”). Social media is a place where anyone can say anything to anyone. Information in social media could stay in the internet forever and it could be spread worldwide. Social media came to exist in the late 90s, before that people used to communicate through letters or through actual conversations face to face. The first ever social media was called Six degrees, it was the first platform where users could make a profile and friend other users. Then from this it evolved to blogging and instant messaging. By the year 2000, over 100 million people have access to the internet and could easily engage socially online (“The History of Social Media: Social Networking Evolution!”).  By this time people started using the instant messaging to make friends or even dating. Several other social media platforms came to exist such as Friendster, Myspace, and LinkedIn. Then around 2005, Facebook and Twitter came to be, these two were the largest social media platforms and were used by millions of people including adolescent. (“The History of Social Media: Social Networking Evolution!”). Facebook had 800 million active users and Twitter quickly gained worldwide popularity with 200 million active users. (“Evolution of Social Networking”). According to a fall 2015 marketing survey, 2 out of 3 US teen owned an iPhone. With owning an iPhone, several apps could be downloaded and they could make their own social media profile without parental guidance. This became one of the reason why teenagers and young adults ages 16 to 24 are the most intense users of social media. (Twenge 1). Because all social media platforms support freedom of speech therefore anyone could say anything to anyone, this could harm anyone with access to the internet and to those social media platforms. They could have access to any information and they could read or see something that they shouldn't have seen. How people post online could affect anyone seeing it whether the impact be positive or negative. From using the internet at such a young age could affect their mental health as said before, because they could access information they shouldn't have seen. There are several kinds of mental health but most cases of mental health due to social media are widely about depression or anxiety. There have been cases where children feel depressed, unhappy, social anxiety, and even cases of cyberbullying because of social media usage. Eight graders who spend more than 10 hours a week on social media are 56% more likely to being unhappy. Boy's depression increased by 21% between 2012 and 2015 and girl's increased by 50%. (Twenge 1). This proves the fact that with frequent usage of social media, adolescent reported about how it affected their mental health. People suffer from depression because of how social media affect them. They could be so obsessed with those platforms that they lack sleep. Lack of sleep could affect negatively by affecting their mood, their lack of focus, ability to think, react, and to learn or get along with other people.

SOCIAL MEDIA

There isn't any data that states how old should a person be to be able to use the internet. Nowadays, everyone could access the internet easily. Which resulted in them being able to create a social media account by any age. Although several social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Musical.ly, and Skype require the minimum age of 13 to be able to create a profile. There are plenty of ways to lie about your age and create a profile. This may be dangerous as younger children would be prone to negative things that they could access in those social media platforms. Most parents usually do not teach their children how to use social media which leads to the children not knowing how it works and in the end finally getting to understand how it works by asking a friend or watching a video. According to a survey conducted in three private schools in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, 38.66% out of 300 students started using internet before the age of 12. However, under the Indian Contract Act anyone who is not 18 years of age can't enter a legal contract, entering a legal contract is a requirement for them to be able to open social media accounts. Another factor would be how there aren't that much internet security for children everywhere (Aggarwal 2). There is no internet protection law for children everywhere as safety measures to protect children and adolescent. Therefore, children with access of the internet and social media could find anything in the internet that could affect them negatively. Without the existence of internet security, the age of the user does not matter and could access things they should have not seen at a young age. The absence of internet protection in children makes them prone to substantial threats of their well-being, privacy, and safety. They could be prone towards cyberbullying, any kind of harassment, adolescent relationship abuse, violence, cruelty, world issues that they should have not known and would make them question everything and may affect their mental health. An early exposure to social media could cause them to have different personalities and to become narcissistic. In several cases, children felt more narcissistic after the years of exposure through social media. This could be viewed in a positive or negative way. Positively, the children being more narcissistic led them to inflate self-view, self-love, self-serving bias, sense of entitlement, self-importance and uniqueness. Negatively, this could cause the child to only think about themselves and not think or have a care about the outside world because they are so caught up with being perfect in social media that they sometimes forget who they are and then have a different personality becoming someone they aren't but want to be to please their crowd in their social media. On social media sites like Facebook, they have plenty of online friends that frequently update their status or share a picture to their wall, joining discussion groups and choose specific pictures of themselves that they think is the most attractive as their profile picture. (Brailovskaia 2)

MENTAL HEALTH

Many research was conducted to find the relationship between the use of social media and mental health. There are different types of mental health disorders that a person can face such as anxiety, behavioral, eating, mental health and substance use, mood, obsessive-compulsive, personality, psychotic, suicidal, trauma and stress related disorders. (Parekh 1) Many disorders include other disorder such as anxiety disorders that includes obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. Behavioral disorders include Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, and Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD). Eating disorder include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. Mental health and substance use disorders sometimes occur at the same time. Mood disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and self-harm. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is the most common disorder most people have this disorder. Personality disorder include antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder. Psychotic disorder is a form of schizophrenia. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a form of trauma and stress related disorders. It can be seen that the close interrelationship of both social media and mental health resulted not on all types of mental health disorder but does affect disorders such as anxiety, behavioral, mood, depression, amongst other things. Self-esteem and extraversion were found to be related to depression symptoms. A survey between 633 German students were conducted, 419 women and 214 men participated. Those within the age of 16 until 59. The survey focuses in the general use of written communication in social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, and tumblr and how it effects self-esteem, extraversion, narcissism, life satisfaction, social support and resilience. Social media platforms that focuses more on written interaction such as twitter and tumblr associated with negative mental health and is related with depression, anxiety and stress symptoms. Whereas social media platforms such as Instagram that focuses more on photo sharing associate with positive mental health and it increases their self-love. Throughout the survey, for the first question about the frequency of media use, participants answered most on “more than once a day” and least on “never”. On average participants use 1.63 social media platform per day. Facebook was used by 76.3% of the participants, Instagram by 39.7%, Twitter by 10%, Tumblr by 8.7% and 24.8% used other social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Xing. The survey then asked about the relationship between media use and how it affect their personality and mental health. The answers vary from different personality traits and mental health. Including extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, narcissistic personality, self-esteem, big five, satisfaction, standard deviation and openness in the personality traits. In mental health answers includes depression, anxiety and stress. (Brailovskaia 4) It seems that participants with higher frequency of internet usage have higher values of self-esteem, narcissism, life satisfaction, resilience and social support than others. Narcissism and self-esteem are interrelated and are correlated to positive mental health variables of life satisfaction. It is known that when narcissistic people find confirmation in their uniqueness and superiority, their self-esteem increases which made them feel satisfied with life. Narcissistic people search for attention and admiration which increase their self-esteem. To achieve that self-esteem, they usually invest most of their time in social media and the internet for online self-presentation and social interaction. For introverted or shy people, social media platforms can be used for users to participate in conversations or communications. Social media platforms can be used to enhance their social life. Its concluded that social media platforms that focuses written interaction such as twitter and tumblr are associated negatively as users can write and read anything about everything (Margraf 10). On another study, it is not clear yet whether smartphone and social media use leads directly to mental health or if they are just a form of a trigger that already lives inside a person's body who just needed a small push to be released. It is unsure that people are vulnerable to the issues involving mental health. As the era we are in now is more prone to anxiety and depression which poses a major threat to the younger generation as they We are just now entering an era in which anxiety and depression are major threats to the greater student population's academic success and overall wellness, therefore it will take time to unravel all the causes and potential solutions.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND MENTAL HEALTH

There was a study conducted from nearly 400 twitter users who reported that they have been diagnosed with clinical depression. An AI was made to help this research further by using common words or key words related to mental health in a social media platform. For example, the AI built was used by helping searching key words negatively related to mental health such as depression, useless, suicide, anxiety, suicidal, I almost, medicine, unless I, hug, money, this happened, this world, over, still, off, loneliness, class and, alone, have nothing, no real, kill myself, abandoned, and die. These words were identified to be a variable related to mental illness and suicidal thoughts. Experts observed that they used impulsive tones and found that those with lowered self-esteem and self-efficacy are prone to the idea of suicide. (Schwarzer 6) Feelings such as loneliness, conceptualized, and social isolation is proven to also be related to suicidal ideation attempts. Tones that include self-loathing and regret also is related to suicidal ideation. These findings were proving that when humans and AI worked together, the outcome would be to a larger approach further understandings could be found. The AI then gather human feedbacks that could help find a solution for the problems that the users were facing. In users who shows the least amount of suicidal ideation, it is found that comments on their posts contains most about greater expression of esteem, network support, followed by emotional support, informational support, and acknowledgements. This study conducted indicates that positive impact of esteem and support in reducing a person's risk of suicidal ideation is a result in which accurately become the outcome of human feedback (De Choudhury 8).  More recent searches were more focused on social media usage and its links to depression due to its addictive use, cyberbullying and a jealousy trigger. Social media could influence the existence of psychological distress in someone through communication and reduced self-esteem. Facebook depression and Facebook envy is considered an impact to social media usage and mental health. Facebook depression started when the person uses an unusual amount of time for their social media usage and this led to the development of classic symptoms of depression. Whereas Facebook envy is when the user compares themselves with others which led to them damaging their life satisfaction and always feel like they are not enough and they need to be someone that they aren't (Guinta 6). Seeing what other people have that to them is better and is an example of what their life should be so they change their image to fit in and to feel satisfied.

PERSONAL SURVEY

A personal survey was conducted to around 100 participants between the age of 16-26. The survey was sent to friends and family. The first question was about if they have or own a social media account. All of them answered yes and all of them owned a social media account. The second question was asking them to state the frequency of how often they use social media. The least amount of hours used to open social media is 3 hours which is answered only by one person. There are 12 people who answered 4-5 hours a day. 30 people answered that they open social media as often as 7-8 hours a day. 28 people answered that they open social media as often as every 15 minutes. 10 people answered that they open social media as often as every 30 minutes. The remaining people answered that they use social media every day and that they always open social media when they have the time. The third question is about if social media have ever affected their daily life and if so how. Some people said it helped them with their communication by socializing and sharing information with one another. Some people said it keeps them updated to what is going on in the world and their friend's life. Most people said that it made them more connected to some friends and more connected to the world. Most people also said it affected them because they are so addicted to the social media platforms that sometimes they forget what is going on in the real world. Two people answered that it doesn't affect their daily life at all. Many also answered that social media made them procrastinate more. Several people said it made them more individualized and like said before, made them forget what is going on surrounding them. The fourth question is about the frequency of social media usage and if they think it their affected mental health. Most said that frequency of social media usage does affect mental health and less said that it doesn't. Several people said that the frequency affects a little bit to their mental health. The fifth question is about how they think social media affect mental health. The answers vary from addiction, anxiety, laziness, seeking validation of people in social media more, emotional impact, relying on online interactions more than offline interactions, depression, triggers sadness and low well-being, led to people comparing their life to another, jealousy, insecurities, self-esteem, bullying, people wanting to be acknowledge, led to misunderstandings such as fake news, and lastly peer pressure. The sixth question is about if they have ever faced mental health problems and if so, is it related to social media usage. Around 75% said they have never faced any mental health problem. 5% said they have but not because of social media and 20% said they have faced mental health problems that is cause by social media usage. The seventh and final question is about what solution they could give to others facing mental health problems because of social media. The answers started from decreasing social media usage, ask for support, limit the time spent on social media, go to a counselor, limit the usage, turn phone off and love yourself, take social media breaks once in a while, stop playing social media, don't apply social media world to reality because social media is just a getaway from reality, have control over yourself, use social media as a positive media platform, create a time log or a time limit when using social media.

The survey conducted is prove that teens ages 16-26 is prone to mental health as people who filled out the survey answered that they feel that they have an obsession with social media and could not stop opening their social media profile every day. It is also proven that they use their time more online than offline. Most participants prioritize their life online than offline. It does increase their self-esteem and self-love but it has also affected their mental health as they rely more on what people view them online on their social media sites and if their response and comments aren't a positive kind then it will affect their mental health by overthinking which could lead them to depression and anxiety because they rely so much on what is happening online than what is happening surrounding them.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the statement social media harms adolescent is true. From several survey and study conducted about this topic it is proven that most adolescent felt what social media platforms have done to them. Most people reported feeling depressed or feeling that they rely on social media too much that their life evolves most on social media. Almost everyone within the age range of 11-30 have or used to have a social media profile. With some social media platforms needing a minimum age of 13 but several of those platforms made it easy for users to lie about their age making everyone being able to make a profile. An early exposure to social media can led to them viewing things that they shouldn't have seen at such a young age. They could be exposed to a lot of negative content in social media that could or could not be directed to themselves. As younger children do not have knowledge on how social media works they could be in shock when they own a profile themselves. They could learn negative things from every social media platform. Other users could comment negative things to their profiles which could affect them to overthink, decrease their self-love and self-esteem, depression, anxiety, overall will affect their mental health. Content released in the internet including social media platforms tend to stay online forever. Once it is released it will stay in the internet, this could harm users as sometimes younger children put important information online and could affect them as other users may use it against them. Many teens and younger children reported that they felt a change in emotions and how they ended up relying on social media to support them. Not all reports are negative as some of them are positive saying that social media helped with their self-love and how it made them more confident in who they are. It also helped them communicate with others when the person is shy or is an introvert who relies most on social media for human interaction.

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