Experts say social media has side effects on our mental health


BRISTOL, Tenn. - The increased use of social media in our lives could have negative affects on our health.

Mental health experts say constant use of social media can increase sadness, isolate you from others, and lower your engagement.

Social networking sites started taking off around 2008.

"About 80% of adults in America are using Facebook or some form of social media. So, if that started in 2008, that's really something that's been a part of people's lives for most of their adulthood, explained The Corporate Image's Vice President of Marketing, Christine Riser.

But around that same time is also when we began seeing a rise in mass shootings.

Therapist Syndey Peltier says there are mental health side affects to using social media.

"We use it for escapism, it's mood altering, it's also very addictive… One of the negative things about social media is that it causes us to compare ourselves to other people," said Peltier.

The impact is across all age groups.

"Over the years you hear about bullying. Kids who can't get away because they're always connected," said Brandon Keen, the Marketing Director at Keen Promotions. "It also puts up a barrier where people say things they wouldn't normally say in person."

"People can start using social media, and technology, or any kind of interactive device as soon as they're able to reach for a device," said Riser.

But Peltier says it's important to keep in mind, what you see on social media might not be the whole story.

"I think one of the things that's really tricky about social media is that people need to remember it's a facade. That it's not necessarily true just because you read about it," said Peltier.

Keen says social media is evolving to provide solutions.

"#IAmAWitness is a big one kids are using now to point out bullying and draw awareness, and then have folks that are positive encourage that person to step in," said Keen.

Peltier advises social media users to take breaks to minimize addiction and stress.

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