- The number of young social media users in India has increased to 448 million in 2021.
- A significant association was found between extreme social media use and depression and anxiety.
According to the data website Statista, the number of social media users in India has increased to 448 million in 2021, specifically due to the extreme use of smartphones during the pandemic. The number of internet users in India is around 624 million, covering about 45% of the total population, mentioned by the website.
In the last few years, social media has rapidly transformed the way young adults used to socialize and communicate with others. Studies say that teenagers spend most of their time on social media during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, specifically due to the closure of educational institutions. As per the Statista report, teenagers and adolescents aged between 13-19 years constitute 31% of the total social media users in India.
A recent Pittsburgh study has shown that social media exposure can adversely affect teens based on how and when they use it. It has found a significant association between extreme social media use and depression, anxiety, eating disorders, negative body image, behavioral disorders, and other mental health-related problems.
Experts say that young adults often carefully observe crafted images and videos of their peers that lead to them engaging in unfavorable social comparisons related to their lifestyles and material possessions. It makes them feel an increased pressure to present themselves in an unreal way to obtain online indicators of social statuses, such as likes and views. Consequently, they become more prone to social stressors, including cyber-victimization that negatively affects their psychological well-being.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should set a consistent limit on social media use for teenagers and adolescents and strictly check what their teens are doing online. Parents need to engage their teens in a variety of free-time activities and prohibit television or mobile phone use during meals and bedtime.