Social media plays an integral part in life for young people today. It’s helped connect the world in an authentic way, giving people access to places they’ve never been and exposure to customs other than their own.
While social media has done its part to bring people together, it’s also helped identify some things that are the same — no matter where you are in the world. According to , one of the big things all social media users have in common is that their experience on social media heavily factors into their happiness.
According to this recent survey, every one of the 4,500 Gen Z members (falling between the ages of 16 and 24) had at least one social media account. Two out of five had more than one account on the Instagram platform (also known as finsta or fake Instagram accounts). A full 20 percent of those surveyed said they would need to be paid more than one million dollars to give up their favorite accounts.
While the respondents were upfront about having multiple accounts, some of which were readily referred to as fake, they were also worried about people who didn’t have social media accounts of their own. In fact, 36 percent of respondents said they would never date someone who didn’t have a social media account.
At the same time, those surveyed expressed jealousy of those who didn’t have social media accounts. One of the reasons they might feel that way? More than 85 percent of them said their social media accounts and online experience had a direct impact on their happiness.
Could this be related to the surge in suicides being seen in young adults in India? In 2019, 35 percent of suicides were in the 18-30-year-old group. A general consensus for the ever-increasing suicide numbers is that there are underlying issues at play contributing to these devastating numbers.
In fact, in 2017, the president of India that the population was “facing a possible mental health epidemic.” Another study from that year found that 14 percent of the Indian population struggled with a mental health illness. This included nearly 46 million individuals with depressive disorders and nearly 50 million who suffered from anxiety disorders.
Of course, these numbers predate the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated emotional and mental health illnesses throughout the world.
The big names in social media are finally hearing what Gen Z has to say about their experience with social media and their mental health. New features minimize the feeling of exposure and rejection, improving the experience for those who struggle with anxiety. In fact, since Facebook added its “hide likes” feature, more than 60 percent of Gen Zers reported less anxiety about sharing posts.
Natives to social media platforms, Gen Z, have clued into the fact that social media can be damaging if not properly used. In return, social media has clued into the fact that they must make changes to retain their target audiences. Perhaps meeting in the middle will give both the platforms and the users the results they’ve been searching for.