Social media is a drug to the psyche. And Tik Tok is like the "crack".
A loose description of mental illnesses in regards to those who deal with them on a daily basis:
Depression- a feeling of intense hopelessness... a major focus on past events and worldly or personal issues.
Anxiety- a feeling of constant fear... a major focus on the future and what may or may not happen. Either in the world or in personal life.
It may seem that symptoms of depression are eased when using apps such as Tik Tok. The fast paced movement of videos and comedy can make life seem less serious.
Alongside that, the "for you page" aka: "FYP" can curate to your personal taste. So many other people who struggle with mental illness and depression will show up in your feed. This can seem positive and inspiring, having this shared experience.
However, the constant use and dependence of these apps can lead to worsening depression. The more you rely on it, the more you cannot live a day without it.
The connection with others can actually cause you to realize the world seems more and more hopeless, worsening those symptoms.
Thoughts that can ruminate:
"If they are feeling bad, can anyone actually be happy"
"They seem to have figured it out, so I am not able to"
These thoughts are not true and the best way to see that is to step away and listen to your own thoughts and feelings. Take away the noise.
Similar to depression, those who struggle with anxiety can feel at ease while using social media.
However, once again, the constant need for connection online takes away from the human connection in real life. It can lead to increased anxiety and reliance on social media to connect with others.
Seeing how everyone else lives their life, whether negative or positive, can add to your anxiety about the world.
Thoughts that ruminate:
"I'm not as happy as them"
"They struggle to do that so I will too"
"The world is falling apart"
"These people have it all together, I'm not like them"
These are just thoughts being fed to you by the constant noise. They are not a reflection of reality. Social media compresses any positive or negative aspect of this world into short, fast, accessible images and videos.
These thoughts can worsen the more time spent daily on the apps. It is best to step away and listen to your own thoughts.
In childhood psychology, it is understood that the ages of 13-17 are a major step in development toward adulthood.
In this stage, teenagers will resort back to an earlier child development stage of feeling "center of attention." Essentially it feels as though everyone is looking and thinking about you at all times. This may seem narcissistic but it is not exactly that. It is actually an important time for teens to develop and understand themselves outside of their family and close people.
Everyone is more worried about themselves to notice much of other's insecurities. Which is why when someone bullies you, it is a reflection of THEIR insecurity, not yours.
At this point teens are hyper focusing on how they look and feel while also believing major life events cannot happen to them. It makes them feel invincible, which is again important for developing a strong sense of self esteem and identity.
This can lead to them thinking for themselves and developing a sense of worth and purpose in the world. Usually not quite yet, but this is where the motivation to become something starts.
So what does Teen Development have to do with Social Media?
Well if you think about it, being hyper focused on yourself and how you fit in this society is an overwhelming experience. Now add in fast paced videos and images constantly being filmed, uploaded, and analyzed. This can create a serious complex in those struggling to find their identity.
Constantly seeing how others succeed ( or not) can make it very difficult to listen to what you want for yourself. There can be a lot of comparison to your life and theirs. Which is just not healthy. The "grass is always greener" mentality. Social media amplifies that. Making each insecurity and desire fast paced and at your finger tips.
The positive in this is that many can feel part of a community and those who may struggle in person can find a way to connect with others.
However, life is not permanently online, and those who struggle with depression and anxiety as a teen can easily become more self focused and reliant on theses apps for internal self esteem.
This process can weaken their ability to grow and understand their own identity when they are always comparing to people all over the world. It is a crisis that can become addicting.
Although social media can weaken self esteem and worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression, it can still be a great way to connect to peers and feel a sense of belonging. It is a great tool that our world uses on a regular basis.
However, with any great thing in life, we need to learn ways to balance that good with the bad.
My suggestion to those reading, put a timer on your apps. Take more time away from social media than time on it. Use the apps as a way to better yourselves and this world. NOT as an escape from reality.
Farewell and good luck.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.