COVID-19: Social media negatively affects psychological well-being of users

By Aznan Mat Piah

KUALA LUMPUR, 11 June 2020: How do the pandemic and the movement control order affect you in terms of your daily life and well-being? Obviously, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted lives everywhere in most parts of the world. Depressions and heightened anxieties have been widely reported as many people are confined to their home.

This was especially so during the early lockdown situation as many have turned to social media to keep their time occupied and to maintain contact with their friends and colleagues. It suggests that social media might be a way to reduce the likelihood of depression and anxiety.

However, according to Prof. Drew McDaniel of Ohio University, there was a significant negative association between psychological well-being and the amount of time users spent on Facebook each day, which gave the meaning that the more you watch Facebook, the lower the feeling of well-being.

In addition, overall there was a significant negative association between well-being and the number of friends one claimed on Facebook. Which means that the more friends you have on Facebook, the less positive you will feel about your well-being.

The findings followed a study conducted by the professor and his team recently on relationship between using Facebook and psychological well-being of users. Respondents were Thai and American students aged 18 to 24 years Facebook users in a major metropolitan university in Bangkok, Thailand and a residential university in the United States.

The final sample came to 410 participants consisting of 202 Thai (49.3%) and 208 US (50.7%) respondents. Well-being was measured by a tool developed by Ryff (1988) and Ryff & Keyes (1995).

Psychological well-being is defined as the feeling of purpose and meaning in life and personal growth and development. Or how contented you are with your life and how confident you are of yourself, according to the professor.

In his conclusion, the professor highlighted two possibilities. Firstly, people who have low well-being are more likely to use Facebook. Secondly, using Facebook lowers one’s sense of well-being.  

He summed up by saying that probably it’s not a good idea for users to make heavier use of the social media like Facebook during Covid-19. He elaborated that “if you do, it will probably increase your anxieties and make you feel less happy”.

The webinar session, held this morning, was organised by Taylors’ University and was attended by some 60 participants, among them were lecturers from public and private universities, including students from Taylor’s. ***

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *