The lockdown managed to trigger and awake the mental illness inside the ones that felt normal under usual circumstances. As a result, students, the population impacted by depression and anxiety, saw a hike in the rate of mental illness in the last year as they found themselves completely isolated and helpless.
Do you know that students became dependent on social apps because of the rise in the rate and intensity of mental illness? In fact, if you go further into this discussion, you’ll come to know that women are far more driven to use technology to communicate. A large number of people use these apps and websites to find validation and elevate their self-worth.
In the last year, we were all isolated at our homes due to the lockdown. There were rigid stay-at-home policies that enabled loneliness to creep in and temper our routine as well as sanity.
Interestingly, the impact of isolation on the usage of socialising apps increased rapidly during this time. This is because people started to depend heavily on these apps for different reasons – to find a companion to go through these difficult times or to manage anxiety levels and other mental health-related problems.
Is there any difference in the way men and women use social apps?
Before the pandemic, research showed that students even used apps like Tinder to find themselves a partner and to indulge in casual conversations.
But later research showed that it was the entire population that used these apps for interaction, whereas the students used these apps to socialise with peers, especially during the times of corona. We also discovered an interesting revelation; both genders used such apps to seek validation and increase self-worth.
Social Apps and Mental Illness
A study was conducted by Lenton-Brym with the intention of finding a link between mental illness and indulgence in socialising apps. They believed that people found the motivation to use these apps as a means to fill the emptiness inside. Hence, they turned to different apps to find a solution – at least, that was their hypothesis.
They also found out that such apps are one of the reasons that are causing symptoms of depression and social anxiety. In addition, the prevalence of mental illness due to these apps is seen more in women compared to men. This could be due to low self-esteem, lack of attention, and poor response.
All such apps play contradictory roles – women use them because it’s easy to communicate but they are equally intimidating and depressing and instil a sense of being judged all the time. The two sides of the same coin cannot be seen in the male population.
So you can see the pattern before and after the pandemic – it’s the same even when the circumstances vary. Men and women both turn to social apps to find comfort in isolation and loneliness. Similar websites are also comforting for people who fear face-to-face meetups. They get their source of validation from these increasing social apps.
Men with higher social anxiety and depression scores are less likely to initiate contact with others than women – they don’t seem to get affected by this. Women, in fact, are unbothered and proceed with making contact even if the other person exhibits more signs of depression and social anxiety. This challenges the gender norm to a large degree – the notion that men are supposed to make the first move!
This research also suggests that social apps, including dating apps, don’t necessarily help men get over social barriers in terms of idealistic pursuits. This study can also be limited, though, because it doesn’t help us identify how many depressed and anxious people are interested in joining social apps. However, we realised from these studies that the stay-at-home orders have changed our circumstances, but our motives remain somewhat the same.
The situation in today’s life is the same as the situation in the academic life of students. They continue to pursue online “do my assignment” facilities but frequency and urgency in the demand have increased significantly. They have more pressure from school and with the addition of poor communication and lack of support, they’ve started availing themselves of these services even more.
In a way, we can say that in times of crisis, it’s the technology that is providing us support and a sense of community. Who would’ve thought that we would be alive to see this day?