August 20, 2019 1:23 pm
Updated: August 20, 2019 1:24 pm

Super Awesome Science Show: Social media

Social media can be both a blessing and a curse, as we discuss in this week's episode.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
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How long can you go without looking at one of your social media platforms? An hour? Two? More? Less?

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Social media has become an integral part of most of our lives, although perhaps not for the better. On this week’s Super Awesome Science Show, we’re going to look at some of the problems associated with social media and how you might be able to keep yourself safe from its potential harm to your mental health.

READ MORE: ‘It made me feel embarrassed’: When friends post ‘bad’ photos of you online

We first talk with Stephanie Dailey, an assistant professor of communication studies at Texas State University who has been actively researching the potential pitfalls of social media for years. According to Dailey, it all comes down to our identity: we need to have an identity in cyberspace, and that can drive us to disappear from our regular lives and society, if only to satisfy this need. This can lead to social media addiction and eventual harms to our mental health.

But while social media can be a factor in mental health, it may also be a means to identify and possibly diagnose depression. This is one area of Dailey’s research that we explore further. Although every person is unique, there are warning signs that can appear on social media. While we are not there yet, the research clearly shows that one day, we may be able to use a person’s posts to identify a need for intervention.

READ MORE: The ugly side of Snapchat and Instagram filters

In our SASS Class, we look at one of the biggest issues with social media and mental health. It’s called the fear of missing out, but it’s better known as FOMO. Our guest teacher is Marina Milyavskaya, an assistant professor of psychology at Carleton University. Her work primarily focuses on our goal attainment and self-regulation, and FOMO is a major factor not just in social media but in real life. She offers us some suggestions for how we can avoid this feeling not by being positive but by being realistic.

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Thanks to you, we’ve won a Canadian Podcast Award for Outstanding Science and Medicine Series. We have been changing the way the world sees science, and it is definitely for the better. Let’s keep the awesome momentum going together! 

Contact:

Twitter: @JATetro
Email: thegermguy@gmail.com

Guests:

Stephanie Dailey
Web: http://stephaniedailey.wp.txstate.edu/

Marina Milyavskaya
Web: https://carleton.ca/psychology/people/marina-milyavskaya/
Twitter: @MarinaMilyav

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