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?
Pros of social media on mental health during pandemic
The pandemic has been a time of great societal change in regards to health and civil upheaval. Social media has become the go-to method for sharing information and connecting with others.
Social media has facilitated communication during the pandemic
The ongoing global pandemic has isolated many from friends and loved ones, creating a rise in individuals experiencing feelings of loneliness and other symptoms of poor mental health. However, it can be argued that social media has facilitated communication during a time of distress. Now more than ever, there is a range of avenues available to people so they can stay connected virtually. Consequently, this enables communities to build a stronger support network during a time of unease and anxiety.
Cons of social media on mental health during pandemic
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.
Social media has contributed to an 'Infodemic'
The term ‘infodemic,’ formally coined by the World Health Organization, refers to emotional instability caused by the difficulty of finding trustworthy sources. Social media has been a platform for ‘fake news’ during the pandemic, which may have negative impacts on an individual’s mental wellbeing.
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.