Let’s talk about something real, something that affects most of us, in this era of digital connectivity: our mental health. As we observe World Mental Health this week, take a moment to explore how social media plays a role in our emotional well-being.
Social Media: A Friend or Foe?
Have you ever wondered about the impact of social media on our mental health? You’re not alone. A recent YouGov poll reveals that many adults in Singapore, just like you, think that social media is responsible for a decline in mental health.
For most of us (52%), social media is seen as somewhat responsible for this decline. A significant 11% of the population even believes that it’s entirely responsible. Some of us remain neutral (25%), while a smaller percentage thinks it’s not very responsible (5%) or not responsible at all (2%).
Digging deeper, we’ll find that men, including many of us, tend to be more critical of social media’s role in mental health. Recent studies have linked excessive social media use to depression and anxiety, sparking legitimate concerns.
Different Perspectives by Generation
Now, let’s look at how different generations see it. If you’re part of Generation Z, the digital natives are likely among the most critical. An impressive 67% of us believe that social media is either completely or somewhat responsible for the decline in mental health. Millennials, just like Gen Z, share similar concerns, with 15% placing complete responsibility on social media. Generation X and Baby Boomers are also in agreement, at 66% and 56%, respectively.
When it comes to gender differences, we agree that social media has an impact on declining mental health, but what’s interesting is that men are slightly more inclined to see social media as completely responsible (14% vs. 8% for women).
Your Personal Experience
Now, let’s bring it closer to home—our own mental health. Have you ever felt that social media affects our emotional well-being? For the majority (55%) of us, social media has a neutral impact. But, some of us (19%) find it beneficial, while others (16%) believe it has a negative impact.
Interestingly, men, including many of you reading this, are more likely than women to view social media positively when it comes to mental health, with 24% of men finding it beneficial compared to 15% of women.
Taking a Breather for Your Mental Health
Have you ever taken a break from social media because it was affecting your mental health? Well, about three in ten of you (29%) have done just that. While many of us have not taken a break (57%), it’s important to acknowledge that a significant number of you recognized the need for a mental health hiatus.
Among different generations, if you’re part of Gen Z, you’re most likely to have taken a social media break (45%). Millennials come next at 34%, followed by Gen X at 26%. Men (28%) and women (29%) are about equally likely to have taken a break.
The Potential for Positive Conversations
Lastly, let’s explore the potential of social media to facilitate positive conversations about mental health. Some of you (14%) believe it can be used extensively for this purpose. A majority (55%) think it can be used to some extent. However, a portion of you (17%) remains sceptical, thinking it contributes little or not at all to the discourse. Another 14% are unsure of its potential in this regard.
The data shared here is based on a YouGov survey conducted online between October 5 and 6, 2023, with a sample size of 1027 respondents. This survey aimed to understand your perspectives as adults aged 18+ in Singapore regarding the relationship between social media and mental health.
This week, as we celebrate World Mental Health Day, remember that the impact of social media on our mental well-being is a conversation that concerns us, our peers, and society at large. Our awareness is the first step towards finding solutions to navigate the digital landscape while safeguarding our mental health.