The Social Dilemma: Social media and mental health


Dr. Shila Rani Das1


Human beings are social creatures that require thecompanionship of others to make progress in life. Thus,being socially connected with other people can relievestress, anxiety, and sadness, but lack of social connectioncan pose serious risks to mental health.1 Social mediahas recently become part of people’s daily activities;many of them spend hours each day on Messenger,Instagram, Facebook, and other popular social media andmany scholars studied the impact of social media andapplications on various aspects of people’s lives.

The advent of the digital age has led to changes in themanner and nature of information generation, circulation,and reception. For example, social media connects peoplethrough text, pictures, and videos to build a vast socialnetwork and significantly influence people’s mindset andbehaviors.3 Social media has a reinforcing nature. Using itactivates the brain’s reward center by releasing dopaminelinked to pleasurable activities such as sex, food, andsocial interaction. The platforms are designed to beaddictive and are associated with anxiety, depression andeven physical ailments. FOMO—fear of missing out—also plays a role. If everyone else is using social mediasites, and if someone doesn’t join in, there’s concern thatthey’ll miss jokes, connections, or invitations. Missingexperiences can create anxiety and depression. Whenpeople look online and see they’re excluded from anactivity, it can affect thoughts and feelings, and can affectthem physically. A 2018 British study tied social mediause to decreased, disrupted, and delayed sleep, whichis associated with depression, memory loss, and pooracademic performance. Social media use can affect users’physical health even more directly


  1. Professor, Department of Community Medicine

    Z H Sikder Women's Medical College, Dhaka

Volume 6, Number 1, January 2024
Page: 2