The digital age has radically changed the lives of young people, especially college students and young professionals, in a time when technology is advancing at an exponential rate. While the digital age offers many benefits, it has also introduced new difficulties for the mental health of our younger generation.
Expressing thoughts on the complex connection between the digital age and the young generation, Mr Anil Somani, the Executive Chairman of FOSTIIMA Business School- Delhi, have pointed out a few drawbacks and challenges associated with the use of social media and digital technology.
The Digital Age: Is it a Curse and a Blessing?
We can keep in touch with friends and family who live around the world thanks to social media, which has also created new networking and job opportunity prospects. However, there is a cost associated with this digital change.
Here are some drawbacks and challenges:
The Pressure to Appear Perfect on Social Media
The pressure to project a perfect image on social media platforms is one of the most significant issues that young adults nowadays must deal with. Sites like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are full of expertly controlled and filtered portrayals of life, highlighting only the peaks, triumphs, and happiness. Young people who strive to live up to these unachievable goals experience emotions of inadequacy and anxiety as a result of this tailored reality's frequently unreasonable standards.
Burnout and Constant Connectivity
The boundaries between business and personal life are more blurred as a result of the constant contact brought about by the digital age. Particularly young professionals are prone to the expectation of always being reachable. This constant state of connectedness can cause mental health problems including burnout and chronic stress.
Online Harassment and Cyberbullying
While the internet era has increased interconnection, it has also given bullying and harassment a place to thrive. Cyberbullying is a serious problem for young people, especially college students, and it may have a terrible impact on their mental health. Internet anonymity frequently gives people the confidence to act cruelly in ways they may not otherwise.
Digital Addiction and Isolation
Another critical issue is the rise of digital addiction, particularly to social media and online gaming. Excessive screen time can lead to physical health problems and exacerbate mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Moreover, the allure of the digital world can lead to isolation and withdrawal from real-life social interactions, which are crucial for maintaining mental health.
Navigating the Digital Age for Better Mental Health
It is imperative to recognize that the digital age is here to stay. However, we can take proactive steps to mitigate its adverse effects on the mental well-being of our young generation.
Digital Detox: Encourage young individuals to take regular breaks from screens, especially before bedtime, to improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.
Digital Literacy: Promote digital literacy programs that help young people distinguish between reality and curated online personas, and teach them to use social media responsibly.
Work-Life Balance: Employers should prioritize work-life balance and set clear boundaries for work-related communication outside of office hours.
Support and Open Dialogue: Encourage open conversations about mental health among peers, family, and coworkers. Offer support and seek help when needed.
Mental Health Education: Incorporate mental health education into college and workplace curricula to increase awareness and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help.
Mental Health Services: Ensure that accessible and affordable mental health services are available to young individuals who may need professional support.