Social the past few years psychologists have begun to

Social development is about improving the well-being of
every individual in society, so they can reach their full potential. (1) In my
essay I will analyse the positive and negative effects the internet and social
media has on the wellbeing of people. I have a strong interest in the
development of social media and the effect it as, particularly on the younger
generation as I am a young person myself, therefore I already have knowledge on
the topic. The internet is a growing sensation, it impacts upon young people
who are growing up in an age where media is not about broadcast content from
the TV, but is about interactivity, multimedia and multi-tasking which is why
so many people are affected by its development.


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Firstly, due to social media evolving so quickly it has a
deep impact on the social fibre and interpersonal relationships so it’s
important to explore the potential effects on young peoples’ emotional and
mental health. Over the past few years psychologists have begun to look at the
effects of social media on mental wellbeing and a consistent finding of much of
this research is that the heavy use of social media is associated with poorer
mental health. A Canadian study from the Centre of Addictions and Mental Health
that’s examined data from over 10,000 adolescents, found that young people who
use social media more than two hours per day were significantly more likely to
rate their mental health as “fair” or “poor” compared with occasional users.

However, social media has dramatically changed the way we
communicate, and there are a lot of benefits to it. We have access to unlimited
information, we can connect with people from all over the world almost
immediately and we can share various information with others. Social media is
also a powerful tool in terms of motivating people to action and make social
changes. It provides a platform for young people’s voices to be heard allowing
them to have a say on issues that matter to them. The online world has the
potential to help young people to explore new concepts, manage risks and build
resilience. Despite this, it also poses as a potential threat as social media
is constantly growing therefore, this makes it easier for inappropriate or
misleading information to be spread.

Furthermore, heavy usage can have a negative impact on
physical well being which in turn can affect mental health. This is
particularly relevant when it comes to sleep disturbance.  Several studies have linked sleep
difficulties to screen time. Sleep is crucial for the developing adolescent
brain, and lack of sleep is associated with lower mood and depression.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh examined social media use and sleep
in a group of young adults, and found that heavier users of social media are
significantly more likely to experience disturbances to their sleep.

Their study included a nationally representative group of
1,788 adults between the ages 19-32. Researchers measured both the frequency
and volume of social media use. Social media volume was a measurement of the
amount of time spent engaged daily. Social media frequency was a measurement of
the number of visits to social media sites over the course of a week.
Researchers gathered sleep data using patient-reported information about sleep
habits and experiences therefore, this data is subjective not objective. The
scientists’ analysis showed a strong correlation between social media use and
sleep disruption. Among participants, heavier volume and frequency of social
media interaction was associated with significantly greater likelihood of sleep
problems. The highest volume users of social media—those in the top 25
percent—had nearly two times the risk of sleep disruption as those in the
lowest 25 percent. The most frequent social media users—again, those young
adults in the top 25 percent—had nearly three times the risk of sleep
disturbance as those in the lowest 25 percent. This study did not address what
is driving the relationship between social media engagement and sleep. Is
frequent, heavy social media use contributing directly or indirectly to sleep


How does social media impact the mental health of young people?