I reviewed 40+ studies on how social media affects mental health.


By Aditya Shukla, Cognition Today

We choose to express and portray ourselves however we like. Knowing this, judging yourself based on others creates an opportunity for negative social thinking based on a mere illusion they present.

1. Overly positive self-presentation leads to bad social comparison

Social media allows a way to manipulate how you present yourself. Many choose to show an overly positive, quality life. Some choose to highlight victimhood. Then you end up comparing yourself with extremes.

2. Bad effects

Bad psychological effects of social media emerge through negative social cognitions like social comparison, FOMO, and poor self-esteem and poor body image.

3. Good effects

Good psychological effects of social media emerge through positive behaviors like seeking out entertainment, sharing creative content, nurturing relationships, seeking out like-minded people, making content, helping, etc.

4. Getting bold and nasty

The online disinhibition effect tells us people get bold, uninhibited, and aggressive online because there is no direct human to human connection and high anonymity. This makes us nasty without feeling responsible for it.

5. You are what you eat

A positive newsfeed promotes positive interactions and a negative newsfeed promotes negative interactions. -ve feed = -ve mind +ve feed = +ve mind

6. Memes protect mental health

Sharing memes is a powerful protective factor against depression and reduces daily stress. It let's people connect and form a bond. Even dank, dark, cringy, and inappropriate memes.

7. Path to depression + anxiety

Loneliness, fatigue, cyberbullying, social comparison and feeling bad about yourself, poor sleep, social media stress, social exclusion, etc. link depression and social media.

8. Your activity matters

Venting, ranting, and posting emotionally loaded updates can lower self-esteem & mood but posting daily activities can improve your self-esteem & mood.