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Is social media bad for our mental health?

As a number of social media platforms have become ubiquitous, many researchers have begun to study the effects on our mental health. Is social media an addiction? Is seeing the most “perfect” versions of people causing us to become depressed? Are we benefiting from using these platforms in any way? Is social media bad for our mental health?


Researchers Study Effects Of Social Media On Young Minds

#Blessed: Is Everyone Happier Than You On Social Media?

How removing ‘likes’ from Instagram could affect our mental health

Additional resources to think about

Generation Like | Frontline
In this documentary from 2014, Frontline investigates the relationship between teens and social media and how people can directly interact with culture in new ways.
5 Crazy Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Brain Right Now
This video from AsapSCIENCE explains the findings of studies that look at the psychological changes that social media causes and the physical changes taking place in our brains.
Social media use can be positive for mental health and well-being
This article from the Harvard School of Public Health takes a look at a study that seeks to differentiate between healthy and problematic social media use.
More Than Memes: Social Media to Cope with Mental Health | TEDxYOUTH
Jadell Brown, a junior from Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools, argues that social media platforms like TikTok and other nontraditional outlets, such as music and dance, provide a critical outlet for teenagers struggling with mental health issues.


Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?


What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)? 
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • What's the emotional appeal? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?


Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2021, Center for Media Literacy,


Is social media bad for our mental health?

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