Good social media experiences DON’T outweigh the bad

Good social media experiences do not outweigh the bad, new research suggests.

For every 10 percent increase in negative social media experiences, people’s risk of depression rises by 20 percent, a US study found.

This low mood is not reversed by positive interactions, such as the ‘like’ of a picture or a nice comment, the research adds.

Researchers believe social media makes people feel down and inadequate due to others posting the highlight reels of their lives. 

Dr Michael Schoenbaum, from the National Institute of Mental Health, who was not involved in the study, said: ‘One error in social media is to imagine if you turn it off your social life is over. As a parent, I definitely think turning it off needs to be an option’.

Good social media experiences do not outweigh the bad, new research suggests (stock)

How children are buying anti-anxiety medication Xanax on social media websites

Children as young as 13 are illegally buying the anti-anxiety medication Xanax on social media websites such Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, a charity warned in February 2018.

Online dealers are openly advertising the drug for as little as 25p to teenagers alongside pictures of pills piled high and boasts of next day delivery.

Experts have warned Xanax, which is 20 times stronger than Valium, is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers.

It is often glamourised in US rap music and is said to be rife among grammar schools where pupils are self-diagnosing anxiety disorders due to the high pressure they find themselves under. 

The charity Addaction branded such social media sites ‘unpoliceable’ after seeing a dramatic rise in drugs being advertised and sold over their platforms in the past six months.

On February 14, there were more than 3,700 Instagram posts captioned with the hashtag ‘xanaxforsale’. 

How the research was carried out 

The researchers, from the University of Pittsburgh, analysed 1,179 students aged between 18 and 30 years old. 

The students were asked to estimate what percentage of their social media interactions are positive. 

Questionnaires assessed the participants’ depression symptoms. 

The students were also asked how often in the past week they felt hopeless, worthless, helpless or depressed. 

‘Negative things count more’

Speaking of the findings, lead author Dr Brian Primack said: ‘The negative things we encounter in the world count more than positive ones.

‘If you have four different classes in college, the fourth class that you did poorly in probably took up all your mental energy.’

Yet, Dr Schoenbaum added the study is ‘deeply frustrating’ as it fails to uncover how social media causes people ‘psychological distress’.

Posting pictures online boosts people’s wellbeing 

This research contradicts a study released last April that suggested posting a picture online every day is good for people’s wellbeing.

Posting images in online photo-sharing forums for two months gives people a sense of routine, boosts their interactions with others and makes them feel more engaged with their surroundings, a study found.

A daily photo also encourages people to leave the house, with 76 percent of the pictures in the trial being taken outdoors, the research adds.

Some even claim sharing photos with others helped them cope with a death or illness in the family, the study found.

The researchers, from Lancaster University, said the practice is ‘an active process of creating meaning, in which a new conceptualisation of wellbeing emerges.’