5 psychological problems resulting from the misuse of social networks
These are the main behavioral patterns associated with the misuse of social networks.
In recent years, many of the people who attend psychotherapy present dysfunctional behavioral habits in the use of social networks.
This is partly due to the fact that these digital platforms have become rapidly popularized in the last 15 years, but this is not the only cause. The very design and mechanics of social networks also contribute to the fact that many of their users get carried away by the experience and act from a counterproductive irrationality. For this reason, in this article we will look at a series of problems derived from a bad use of social networks such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or TikTok.
Top 5 psychological problems associated with the misuse of social networks
Social networks have become a part of everyday life for millions of people. In a world where the boundary between the digital and the material is becoming less and less clear due to the omnipresence of the Internet, smartphones, computers and tablets, it would be strange if these virtual platforms were hardly used at all.
Phenomena such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok take advantage of the incredible potential of the digital world when it comes to developing varied functionalities and adapting quickly to the circumstances, on the one hand, and the fact of having a lot of information about the users browsing their pages, on the other.
The result is that there are those who see in these digital platforms something from which it is difficult to "unhook", even for half an hour. even for half an hour. To a certain extent, social networks are not designed to help their users solve problems and satisfy needs that exist beyond the screen, but rather they are designed to constantly capture the attention of those who use them, making it difficult for them to disconnect. In other words, they offer solutions to some of the problems they create, at least for people with certain psychological predispositions.
Taking into account the above, here we will see what psychological problems are caused by a bad use of social networks. Of course, these are not mental disorders, but simply dysfunctional behavior patterns, which may or may not be part of psychopathologies with other symptoms apart from these.
1. Limiting social interactions to the digital world
Some people come to replace meaningful social interactions almost entirely with social interactions on social networks, whether it be chatting, leaving comments, etc. Over time, this disconnection from face-to-face interactions leads to other problems, such as fear of meeting new people in person, adoption of an excessively sedentary lifestyle, inexperience in the use of social skills, and so on.
This is a problem that can especially affect those who are predisposed to introversion as a personality trait.
2. Poor time management due to distractions
One of the characteristics of social networks is that second by second they offer different content adapted to the preferences of each user. Because of this, it is easy to lose track of time when using them, and this makes some people get into the habit of using their breaks to use them, only to realize that they have lost too many minutes or hours of work, study, etc.
3. Use of social networks to try to gain popularity at all costs.
Most social networks offer a lot of visibility to a series of users who are seen as referents in these virtual spaces: influencers, opinion leaders, etc. This approach leads some users to feel compelled to seek the attention of others at almost any cost, devoting much of their free time to it and even committing imprudent acts just to receive likes and comments.
4. Use of social networks so as not to miss anything
Another of the mechanics used by social networks is to raise the need to be aware of everything that happens minute by minute. In fact, many people use these digital platforms for hours not so much out of curiosity as out of fear of becoming "outdated" in a certain social circle.
5. Using social networks to try to cheer up
A curious effect that social networks have on many people is that some users use them for a long time when they feel sad or anxious, scrolling just to see what the network offers and forget about the rest. The problem is that since these digital platforms show mostly idealized lives, this can make people end up feeling worse without realizing it.
Looking for professional psychological assistance?
If you are interested in psychological support from mental health professionals, contact our team. At Avance Psychologists we have been treating people with all kinds of emotional discomfort, behavioral problems or aspects to improve in their way of interacting with the environment and with others for two decades. Among these are inappropriate habits of using social networks and difficulties in limiting their use: we provide psychological treatment to prevent these digital platforms from taking control of your life.
We currently offer psychotherapy for people of all ages, couples therapy, family therapy, coaching, psychiatric and neuropsychological care. You will find us in our center located in Madrid, and also through the online therapy modality (done through a video call program). To see our contact details, access this page.
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- Scott, H. y Clelland, H. (2019). Understanding Links Between Social Media Use, Sleep and Mental Health: Recent Progress and Current Challenges. Current Sleep Medicine Reports, 5(3), 141 - 149.
- YHMM & RSPH (2017). #StatusOfMind: Social media and young people's mental health and wellbeing. Reino Unido. Royal Society of Public Health.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)