The coronavirus pandemic is one that current generations have never faced. He changed consumer behaviors and turned everything upside down. Inevitably, people started spending more time on social networks like Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.
In the pandemic, the world began to give up exits, forced by circumstances, but also by drastic measures taken by the authorities. However, experts warn that this isolation comes with some risks, and these are especially associated with excessive use of social networks.
In other words, if you stay on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok for a long time, you are prone to symptoms of depression and secondary trauma. This is what a study by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn State) in the United States and at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China, shows.
The dangers you expose yourself to on Facebook and Instagram in a pandemic
The study involved 320 people from Wuhan, who provided information on how to access and share health information to friends, family members and colleagues through WeChat, China’s most popular social networking app.
The researchers also used a stress scale to measure the level of anxiety and depression, and participants were asked to rate statements such as “I felt that life did not make sense “ and “I had disturbing dreams about the coronavirus epidemic“. And so came the conclusions.
“We did not expect it to become a global pandemic. I thought we could reveal some invisible damage caused by the outbreak. In China’s situation, local media did not report on COVID-19. If a person read only the local newspaper and watched television, he would not receive information about the virus. This made people extremely stressed and they started to rely heavily on social networks “, explained one of the researchers.
This is where these risks of depression and trauma come from: many people turn to social media to find and share health information in times of crisis. The Harris survey found that between late March and early May, 46-51 percent of American adults said they use social media more often than before the pandemic.
And the news is not the best, practically users are always exposed to information that is harmful to their health.
“I think that during disasters we tend to use our social networks more, to get help and to get in touch with others. It is in the nature of man. We don’t want people to think that social media is a bad thing. We just want them to know that there is a balance, and when you cross the threshold – like when you check (your social networks) every five or ten minutes – it can cause you more stress, “said researcher Bu Zhong.