Among the several reports that suggest that social media can have a negative impact on our mental health, a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan comes as a surprise, suggesting that ‘online social participation buffers the detrimental effect of pain on depression.’
The study suggested that people suffering from pain often tend to socialise less and are isolated at home or elsewhere, which is when ‘online socializing may weaken the tie between pain and depression for older people.’
According to reports, the study’s lead author, Shannon Ang, said, “Using online social media to maintain contact with family members and friends is a good way to compensate for seniors who restrict their social activities due to pain. It is not going to replace seeing people in person, but it will help supplement their reduced activities.”
For Manjeet Singh, a 62-year old businessman, getting online has made his life more eventful and interactive.
“Because all my kids stay out of the city and have little time to talk or call, social media has made me connected to them with a click…
Since I started accessing social media, I have seen a shift from my monotonous routine.
Earlier after returning home at seven from work, all I did was watch television, visit friends (very rarely) eat and sleep. That was the night routine for my spouse too. But social media has connected me with all the people who aren’t physically present near me and it is satisfying to know that they are doing well.
Moreover, it also keeps me mind away from just thinking how alone we are and have not much to do and I am updated with lots of information too.
Staying active on social media has helped me to think of more positive aspects and more importantly, I stay connected with my family,” adds Singh.
Dr. Niket Kasar a city-based Consultant Psychiatrist believes that social media can be a distraction from the pain and isolation that older adults undergo.
“For older adults who aren’t involved in intellectual and physical activities, social media can be pleasurable, as long as they don’t get addicted to it.
They spend time sending messages on WhatsApp which can reduce their loneliness and with their smartphones they can also indulge in various cognitive activities by solving various puzzles and riddles.
This can also reduce depression; the brain is kept occupied and the tendency of forgetfulness is also reduced, which is an issue with loneliness.
“People who live alone or are single, being active on social media is also good for them as that can help improve their self-image, self-esteem, they can get appreciation and motivation when their posts and messages are liked etc..
This hence will be a motivating factor for them to live their life happily. For people who are undergoing chronic pain, for them this can be a diversion. Most importantly, they can communicate and stay connected with their family and friends, through messages and video calls, which will also help them to not stay aloof and feel lonely.
“Hence, although social media can help relieve stress and depression and can help in distraction it should reach a state of complete dependency and addiction.
Moderation is the key, otherwise it can have negative impacts like moral breakdown, sadness etc.
The moment they feel intimidated and dependent, it can have adverse effects which is often seen in young adults when they do not get enough attention, appreciation, likes and comments on social media,” adds Dr. Kasar.
#All views expressed are those of the respondent’s and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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