Impact of social media on mental health

Social media is the computer facilitated technology with which people create and share information. Social media exists in the form of virtual communities (e.g. Facebook, twitter, whatsapp, snapchat, instagram) and one can share their information and forms of expression with others.

Impact of social media on mental health


 The volume of social media usage is being directly associated with the increased risk of depression and anxiety in young adults. Research suggests that usage of multiple social media platforms and greater daily time spent on social media leads to depression and anxiety. Studies shows that increased social media usage may lead to negative online experiences such as cyber bullying, less social interaction, reduced workplace productivity and decreased ability to pay attention .


 Poor academic performance, addictive behaviors, abuse, jealousy, hopelessness, suicide because of depression and anxiety are particularly common in younger adults.  These are being considered as the epigenetics impacts of social stress. 

Studies conducted to understand the sources and impact of social media usage reveals that bodies’ interpretation and respond to stressful experiences are as a result of epigenetic mechanisms. These epigenetic mechanisms lead to the neurophysiological changes that are as a result of perception of challenges due to social environment .

Various animal model studies and human epidemiological studies show that psycho social stress can be transmitted to offspring that are not exposed to the stressors. Increased stress reactivity, behavioral symptoms, anxiety and depression symptoms can alter the DNA methylation patterns and can induce long term changes in the epigenome. 


Negative impacts of social media usage also include neglecting “real life” responsibilities, relationships and negative social interactions and feedback increase the risk of depression. However, there is a conflicting research about the impact of social media on depression. In some studies it is indicated the social media usage gives motivation, inspiration, increased life satisfaction and positive outlook.

By Aqsa Babar

BS(hons)Biotechnology Kinnaird College For Women Lahore