89% of people think social media negatively affects their mental health

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89% of social media users believe it harms their mental health, according to research by the Cybersmile Foundation.

The organization recently unveiled Digital Wellbeing 2022 – its second biannual study conducted by the charity to learn more about the impact of social media use on users aged 16 to 24.

The Digital Wellbeing 2022 study asked 1,000 participants aged 16-24 across the UK a series of questions about how their use of social media affects them. Important topics such as mental health, body image, social comparisons, negative news consumption, social media addiction and many more were explored in the research project.

Holly H, Cybersmile’s Official Ambassador, said, “I feel so lucky to be able to be myself and express how I feel and who I am on social media. It’s amazing to be able to see so many different people from all over the world, connect with them and share experiences. Most of the time it’s an amazing experience, but once in a while it can get tricky online. It’s important to get extra help if you ever find yourself in trouble, as your mental health and well-being are extremely important. Talk to your friends or family about how you feel or contact the amazing team at Cybersmile for help.

The study was undertaken to better understand Gen Z’s relationship with social media and how it affects how they feel about their bodies, their lives and their personal well-being. The Digital Wellbeing 2022 results will be used to ensure that Cybersmile continues to provide the most helpful and effective advice, education and support services possible.

Dan Raisbeck, co-founder of the Cybersmile Foundation, said: “Our Digital Wellbeing 2022 report offers important new insights into the impact of social media use on the daily lives of an entire generation. As technology evolves and platform dwell times increase, Gen Z users are being impacted to an extent beyond anything we’ve previously uncovered. These findings provide Cybersmile with valuable insights into the digital wellbeing of 16-24 year olds in the UK and will play a key role in helping us adapt our support resources, develop new educational materials and create campaigns. effective awareness raising.

Cybersmile’s commitment to learning more about the relationship between Gen Z and social media was supported by advisory board member Dr. Barbara Mariposa – a physician with a background in psychiatry and public health, whose books include The Mindfulness Playbook, The Kindness Habit and Leading with Presence.

Dr Barbara Mariposa, member of the Cybersmile Advisory Group for Wellbeing and Equity, said: “The findings of Digital Wellbeing 2022 are clear. They emphasize the vital importance of education from an early age in the safe and respectful use of social media. Edited versions of social media reality offer perfect bodies and perfect worlds, which nearly nine in ten study participants said had a negative impact on how they feel about themselves, their body and their life. Young people rightly worry about addiction and increased anxiety, time spent studying, and the detrimental effect of that time on the basics of good self-care, such as exercise and nutrition. Cybersmile’s 2022 Digital Wellbeing report highlights the very real damage that unbalanced use of social media platforms can cause.

The study was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Cybersmile between May 16 and May 24 in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Regional data offers great insights and comparisons for major UK cities including Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sheffield and Southampton.

Amazing Arabella, Gen Z Influencer, said, “It can sometimes be difficult for us to understand the difference between the real world and the digital world, as we can often be engrossed in a pixelated reality. How we look after our own well-being, learn to use the internet productively and communicate through it is essential. Education should be introduced from an early age to encourage balance and knowledge, as well as to watch for red flags and know what to do! I encourage my followers to be mindful of their personal well-being when using social media and my young and parent followers practice it through family activities that can be done in a fun and safe way – encouraging social interactions and digital while building trust. Your digital wellbeing is so important.

Key findings from Digital Wellbeing 2022 include:

46% of respondents indicated that social networks make them want to permanently change a part of their body through surgery.
87% of respondents indicated that social media content inspires them to be perfect.
85% of respondents indicated that social media negatively affects how they feel about their own body.
89% of respondents indicated that social media negatively affects their mental health.
77% of respondents indicated that social media negatively affects their physical health.
89% of respondents indicated that they feel dissatisfied with their life when comparing it to others on social media.
86% of respondents indicated that using social media makes them anxious.
32% of respondents indicated that they felt addicted to bad news online.
33% of respondents indicated that they did not feel safe sharing their opinions and views online.
44% of respondents indicated that they feared having a social media addiction.
52% of respondents said they feel better when they spend less time on social media.
51% of respondents indicated that their sleep is negatively impacted by the time they spend online.
32% of respondents indicated that their diet is negatively affected by the time they spend online.
32% of respondents indicated that their physical activity is negatively affected by the time they spend online.
40% of respondents indicated that their study is negatively affected by the time they spend online.

Want to hear top global brands discuss topics like this in person? Learn more about the Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America and Singapore.

Key words: mental health, social media


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