Recent research on social media usage has “determined that the more time young adults use social media, the more likely they are to be depressed… exposure to social media can cause depression—which leads to more social media usage” (Forbes, April 30, 2016). Social media studied included Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn. Heavy social media users were almost three times more likely to experience depression than their counterparts. “Why would heavy social media usage cause depression? The exposure to ‘highly idealized representations of peers on social media elicits feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier, more successful lives,’ says the study. People that engage in activities of little meaning on social media makes them feel like they are wasting time. Spending more time on social media increases the exposure to cyber-bullying, thus causing feelings of depression. And social media fuels ‘Internet addiction’” (ibid.).
The Bible warns against comparing ourselves with others (2 Corinthians 10:12). Yet, modern cultural practices actually promote these unwise behaviors. The Scriptures also warn against spending time viewing “worthless things” (Psalm 119:37). While social media does have benefits, we need to be extremely careful when using it. For more on this topic, read our commentary on “Facebook Consequences.”