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Social media seems to be constantly present in everyday life, especially for college students. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram embody the main social media platforms that millions of people around the world use at an extremely high rate. But is this high rate of usage always beneficial? By living one’s life through social media, can this lead to social anxiety?

Maintaining a successful college education while balancing a healthy social and private life can become stressful and difficult, especially among those with social anxiety disorder. This disorder involves the fear of social situations in which others may negatively judge you. For most people, it is common to feel shy or nervous when confronting new people or social situations, but those with social anxiety disorder experience physical symptoms such as nausea, shaking or faintness in those situations.

Scientists now hypothesize that there is a correlation between the use of social media and social anxiety disorder. The overall findings supporting this hypothesis suggest that social media may have both benefits and detractors for those dealing with this disorder. Whether or not someone has this disorder, there are pros and cons to the usage of social media.

Studies show that those with social anxiety disorder use passive behaviors when using social media. They tend to only look at other people’s profiles rather than posting things themselves. This passive behavior can actually cause the disorder to worsen. Constantly scrolling through each app and not engaging can increase anxiety. Other general cons include making weaker friendships than in real-life, possibly feeling left out and inadequate and potential disruptions in sleeping patterns. Excessively spending time on social media, in particular using it passively, can cause stress, depression and Internet addiction disorder.

In order to prevent the increase of social anxiety and help alleviate the stress of those who have social anxiety disorder, there are certain guidelines that can help. It is important to balance your life between real-life interactions and social media. Continuously moderating how much time you spend on social media can prevent addictive behaviors, enabling you to focus on completing goals and tasks within your day. Always remember that everything you see on social media may not be an accurate representation of what is being shown, so do not negatively compare yourself to others. It is also important to engage with friends and social groups that will positively impact your life. There are many designated social groups that you can join that are specifically created to help those with higher social anxiety levels.

Social anxiety disorder is something that should not be taken lightly, and the potentially negative effects of social media need to be recognized and studied more. By using the helpful tips provided, you can establish a healthy lifestyle that balances your real-life experiences with your usage of social media. For more helpful tips on how to properly manage your use of social media, please visit this website.

opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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