Are Smartphones and Social Media Behind the Surge in Mental Illness And Can This Old Tech be Part of the Solution?

The CDC recently released a survey showing a staggering increase in mental distress among teens – multiple reasons were provided, such as negative political climate, climate change war, and capitalism.

However, the explanation that has stood out is the increased use of smartphones and social media.

Smartphones and social media trigger a rise in mental illness

The surge in mental illness in teens started around 2010, which coincided with the release of smartphones and the launch of social media platforms.

According to Noah Smith, multiple pieces of evidence show the correlation between social media use and mental distress.

He noted that each study indicated that social media usage affected emotional well-being and healthy social engagements.

Smith, an economics blogger, noted that social media distracts people from their real-life friends – additionally, these platforms create negative feelings of inadequacy and envy.

Sometimes, they are also filled with negative news that initially appears engaging, but instead, it triggers mental distress.

Smith’s analysis stresses the need to form a healthy smartphone and social media usage.

For most people, not using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is impossible because these platforms help people keep up-to-date with what is happening worldwide.

This old technology can create healthy smartphone usage

According to Yair Rosenberg of The Atlantic, RSS readers, a 25-year-old technology, can help people form healthy relationships in smartphone and social media usage.

Rosenberg said that this old technology could enable daily internet users to take control of how they use their smartphones to consume content.

“RSS provides everyday internet users with an easy way to organize all of their online-content consumption – news media, blogs, YouTube channels, even search results for favorite terms – in one place, curated by the user, not an algorithm. The answer to our relatively recent social media woes has been sitting there all along.”

RSS readers have good and free options available, and users can control their online content consumption.

With this technology, online users can choose the social media sites they want to use, the feeds they want to read and the newsletters they want to be displayed.

Rosenberg noted that he had been using the RSS reader for more than ten years, adding that this technology was promising.

He added that social media users could control what they see with an RSS reader, giving them control over their mental condition and time spent on these platforms.

Social media usage has grown significantly over the years, and the numbers are only expected to increase with time.

Therefore, if these platforms continue to be associated with mental illness, the solution to this is a 25-year-old technology that most people abandoned.

However, setting up the RSS reader might take much effort initially – nevertheless, this could be a small price for teens and adults who want to safeguard their mental health.

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