By Bridgetta Anderson

It’s hard to remember what life was like before social media.

Even those of us who try to resist its lure usually have at least one account – perhaps LinkedIn for work purposes, or Facebook to share family photographs with relatives who live far away.

The fact is it’s here to stay, and for every bad moment which makes us think “Why do we use social media?” there are countless benefits, such as reconnecting with old friends, keeping up with news from across the globe and even finding jobs or opportunities which would otherwise pass us by.

However, the dangers of social media come with over-usage. Running multiple platforms has been identified as one of the causes of depression and anxiety.

Then there are the negative effects of social media addiction. Don’t even get me started on the increase in people tweeting while driving (and Instagramming, and Snapchatting). It seems some of us feel that life isn’t happening unless we’re giving a running commentary of it online.

So let’s look at the facts about social media.

According to Brandwatch, as of July 2015 the internet has 3.17 billion users – and 2.3 billion of those are active social media users.

These people have an average 5.54 social media accounts.

But experts have suggested that those wishing to take steps to improve mental health should consider reducing their social media activity.

A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health found that using multiple social-media platforms were connected to early signs of depression and anxiety.

Researchers discovered those who use between 7-10 platforms were three times more likely to be depressed or anxious. They were overwhelmed by the multitasking required to manage profiles. People felt inadequate when comparing themselves to the posts they viewed. Equally they felt a loss when their posts didn’t get enough “likes” or views.

Though it’s on the high end, maintaining seven social-media profiles is possible with the bevy of options available to users today.

But with social media among the low self esteem causes, we could all benefit hugely from a social media detox, either cutting down our use to a small window in the day – or minimising the platforms we go on, reducing to the bare essentials. Could you survive on just one or maybe two platforms?

According to medical experts, these are the top five health risks associated with social media use:

It causes diabetes and heart disease

Technically we’re talking the number of hours sitting in front of the computer – but social media can double our time spent screen-surfing. And just two hours a day increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 20%, and the risk of heart disease by 15%.

It can be addictive

Responding to a notification prompts the release of dopamine in the brain – a neurotransmitter that drives reward-driven learning. This dopamine hit, when combined with the vast amounts of time spent on social channels, can spell serious trouble.

It makes you anti-social

Ever spent so long photographing and uploading images of “happy” family moments that you haven’t really taken part in them? You’re among 24% of people who have missed out on real life milestones because they were so busy updating social channels.

Facebook makes you fat

A recent study found that social media can lead to impulsive unhealthy snacking. In simple terms, you are unconscious to everything except what is on the screen. Similar effects were recorded in terms of health, mental persistence and spending.

It brings on paranoia/anxiety/depression

Ever felt like your computer was watching you? With geo-location, big data and social media usage, companies target their marketing to an unprecedented degree. In the eyes of some, this ever-growing accuracy can make people paranoid.


For healthcare marketing advice, contact us on 0800 612 9890.