The impact of social media on mental health



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Throughout my career as a Houston Police officer, I have responded to numerous calls for service where a complainant was threatened, harassed, impersonated, or otherwise victimized. Many of these calls had a common denominator – social media. Whether social media was the method in which the complainant was contacted, or the tool used to victimize, its role was profound. I wanted to know why people were using social media as a weapon just as much as I wanted to know why many victims seemed incapable of putting their phones down, even for just a few minutes while talking to the police. I decided to focus this research project on the effect that social media usage is having on its users. More specifically, the connection, if one should exist, between social media use and mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, as well as the connection to violent and deviant behaviors. Current research suggests there is a correlation between social media use and deteriorated mental health status. Research also has found that violent and deviant behavior is becoming more prevalent online because of the anonymity of the perpetrator. This project adds to the literature by examining the relationship between social media use and mental health.