According to some new research, as many as seven million people in Britain are left depressed after using social media services such as Facebook and Twitter.
The new findings by Privilege Home Insurance show that the pressure of keeping up appearances and comparing their lives to their friends and family, leaves 20% of people using social media depressed. This equates to a staggering 6.9 million people.
The poll was conducted using 2,000 Britons, and more than half of these feel obliged to use social media. One in ten admitted to feeling embarassed if they post something that doesn’t get a reply, and 8% of people studied said they’d delete something that didn’t get any likes, favourites, retweets or comments.
The study also found that 18% of people on social media will only post a photo of themselves if they think they look attractive in it. 1 in 3 people also reported feeling pressured to like content their friends post, with 22% of people feeling like they have to accept friend requests from people they work with. Roughly 23% of younger users (aged 18-34) have argued with others online.
Nick Harrop, the campaigns manager for Young Minds, responded to the findings: “Social media puts enormous pressure on young people to live their lives in the public domain, to present a personal ‘brand’ from a young age, and to seek reassurance in the form of likes and shares.”
The information manager at mental health charity Mind, Rachel Boyd, had this to say: “Social media increasingly plays a role in many of our lives. For people living with mental health problems, it can be a really valuable way of connecting, sharing and finding support. But social media can also feel negative or difficult, especially if we find ourselves comparing our lives and achievements unfavourably with other people’s.”
And lastly, a comment from a spokeswoman at Rethink Mental Illness, Nia Charpentier: “We have heard from our supporters about how social media and the ‘Instagram lifestyle’ – where everyone else’s life can seem perfect compared to yours – can evoke feelings of worthlessness or even panic.”