Recent research has shed light on the detrimental effects of social media on the mental health of young individuals. However, there is a growing trend among young people to prioritize their well-being by shunning social media platforms. One such person is Iwan Kellet from Anglesey, who experienced a significant improvement in his mental health after taking a break from social media. He attributed his decision to the constant negativity he encountered on these platforms.
For Iwan, social media initially served as a means of staying connected with friends. However, he soon realized the negative impact it was having on his mental state. TikTok, in particular, had become addictive for him, making it challenging to detach from the constant stream of negative news stories. Inspired by his desire to free himself from this negativity, Iwan decided to embark on a social media detox.
Iwan’s experience is not unique. According to a study conducted by mobile phone company HMD Global, three in five individuals from the Gen Z age group regularly undertake social media detoxes in an effort to reconnect with the world around them. Another study by McKinsey Health Institute found that one in four individuals from Gen Z associated excessive social media usage with poorer mental health.
Donna Dixon, a lecturer of childhood and youth studies at Bangor University, has extensively researched the impact of technology on young people’s well-being. Her studies indicate a complex relationship between social media engagement and mental health. Unhealthy use of these platforms has been linked to issues such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, Ms. Dixon’s research has also explored the influence of parental technology usage on young individuals’ relationship with social media.
Despite the negative associations, Ms. Dixon acknowledges that there are positive aspects to social media. She highlights the potential for social connection and emphasizes the need to strike a balance in technology use. While research does suggest a correlation between reduced social media usage and improved well-being, the implications of completely disconnecting from technology remain unclear.
Returning to social media with a newfound perspective, Iwan now uses his accounts less frequently. He has witnessed a significant change in his overall happiness and well-being by avoiding negative content and adopting a more positive mindset when using his phone. For Iwan, the decision to step back from social media has allowed him to devote more time to his interests, such as writing short stories and working on a book about the history of his village.
In conclusion, the growing trend of social media detoxes among young people reflects a desire to prioritize mental health and well-being. While the negative impacts of excessive social media usage are well-documented, it is essential to recognize the potential positive aspects of these platforms. Finding a healthy balance and understanding the nuanced effects of social media will ultimately lead to a more informed and beneficial relationship with technology.