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What are the pros and cons of social medias impact on mental health during the coronavirus pandemic? Show more Show less
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The coronavirus pandemic has led to significant lifestyle changes and isolation measures across the world. Social media has provided a platform for people to stay connected, communicate with friends and family, and engage with the news and current affairs. However, there is a lot of research and concern for the role of social media in the increasing mental health rates, particularly amongst teenagers. Also, the coronavirus ‘news fatigue’ which has led to many disengaging from social media during the pandemic. So, what are the pros and cons of social medias role in the pandemic regarding mental health?

Cons of social media on mental health during pandemic Show more Show less

People turn to social media for news consumption and human interaction, but the unreliable nature of social platforms means that news can easily be distorted, and the negative impacts of social media can be exacerbated when it is your only outlet.
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Potential negative impacts of social media have been increased by the pandemic

Before the pandemic, social media could lead to feelings of disconnect and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. With the future global uncertainty and higher engagement rates with social media, these problems have now increased.
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The Argument

‘The pandemic of social media panic travels faster than the COVID-19 outbreak’.[1] Social media plays an important role in spreading awareness and news about various issues, including the pandemic, but along with that is the spreading of incorrect news, hatred, and racism. Examples of this infodemic include conspiracy theories of coronavirus being caused by 5G, hoarding, panic buying, claims of cures through herbal remedies, and much more.[2] During such a time of uncertainty and unrest, with people staying home and on social media more than ever before, the usual negative effects of social media, such as lowered self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, and depression, are heightened and more prevalent than ever before, with suicide hotline calls increasing up to 300%.[3]

Counter arguments

Social media allows us to be more connected than ever before, an overarching concern that has always been voiced whenever technology advances is a phenomenon known as social displacement- that time on technology such as social media is "eating away at face-face time." [4] When interacting with friends or loved ones, we tend to use several forms of communication, such as texting, calling, and in-person. Especially in such times where in-person interaction is difficult and unsafe, social media allows people to stay connected with each other. It has become evident this year the importance of human interaction and how social media can never "replace" it. Over a quarter of millennials and teenagers (who have grown up around social media) said that “social media is ‘extremely' or ‘very' important for expressing themselves creatively.”[4] This same group also claims to see racist or hate messages on social media "sometimes." However, the issue of racism, hate, or prejudice is longstanding and existed long before social media.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://academic.oup.com/jtm/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jtm/taaa031/5775501
  2. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/416991/how-5g-and-covid-19-mixed-to-make-a-toxic-conspiracy-cocktail
  3. https://wwmt.com/news/local/calls-to-suicide-hotlines-rise-during-covid-19-pandemic
  4. https://www.apa.org/members/content/social-media-research

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 9 Sep 2020 at 03:00 UTC

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