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02/06/2023 “Social Media and the Dangers to Our Mental Health” By Kaylee McGrath

This week I would like to share my thoughts and personal experiences with using social media. I’m sure many of my readers can understand why this topic needs to be discussed as often as possible to protect the many individuals who are and will continue being affected by social media.

It should be no surprise to anyone whether if you are a Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X, or a Baby Boomer that social media will continue to affect all of us in one way or another (personally, family members, or friends). Throughout the past several years, top network news shows and published articles have reported on the many dangers with our young adults who spend a tremendous amount of time on various social media platforms. Tragic suicides, online bullying, eating disorders, and mental health issues are just a few of the dangers.

The other bigger issue is… how social media algorithms shape the way we get information and news. There are also several pending lawsuits that parents have with leading social media companies e.g., Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok concerning their children’s past and current mental health, and the unfortunate heartbreaking suicides.

It has been proven regarding algorithms that if you read or search for healthy dieting or working out, it will bring your search to pages showing “pro” anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. The algorithms will also bring you to pages that have photos of severely underweight women giving the false impression this is how everyone should look. I have first-hand experience with algorithms leading me to other pages that led me down a very dark path of feeling I was overweight, not pretty enough, didn’t have the right look, and feeling worthless.

Social Media has also contributed to my mental health with various negative comments, messages, on my posts as well as Snapchat photos. I’ve received so many unkind messages including when I post important information on various disabilities and strong and influential women. I remember just this past Halloween, I posted on Facebook a photo with a message concerning “To be Kind to Trick or Treaters with Blue Pumpkins,” since it represents Awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorders. The reactions were so unkind, not only to me but to those who are on the Spectrum, that I needed to delete the post within 15-minutes of posting it. The deletion of the post I felt was extremely necessary because I didn’t want additional unkind comments adding to the harsh negativity of the first few reactions.

Closing Statement:

On January 1, 2023, I made the decision that I would primarily use social media to promote my photography & multimedia business and not use it as much for personal reasons. It was on January 3rd, I posted to my story on Snapchat that I was taking a break from using the app due to personal and health reasons. My message also stated, if anyone wanted to contact me, to do so by direct messaging me on Instagram or my personal phone number. There were a few positive responses and concerns that I quickly replied to, letting them know I was okay and not to worry. I provided my personal phone number to those who asked for it, as well as some who live in Europe who I will be corresponding with via WhatsApp. It has been several weeks now that I’ve been laying low from using social media for personal use. I do feel much better now concerning my depression and anxiety. As far as the future, I’m not too sure how much I will be personally using social media.

Source of Information: Personal Experiences, Network TV News Shows, Published Articles and Online Research

Until Next Week, Stay Safe and Well!

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