• Question: Do you believe that due to social media labelling is having a more long term consequences?

    Asked by callum to Rob, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 12 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I think that over time, we will come to a stage that we’re just numbed of what people say on social media. At 37, I am unlikely to get upset because someone said something I did not like on social media.

      However, if you are on your teens, you are most likely to be vulnerable of your image on social media. If you think this affects your relationship with your family and friends, or your studies, you should reach out and talk to someone.

    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      I think it depends on the label – there are some groups on social media who are using labels in a positive way to promote differences. For example, the body positive movement celebrates a diverse range of body types and images, and tries to reject the idea that you have to look a very specific way to be accepted (e.g. thin, muscular…). There are some labels associated with ‘eating disorders’ which seem to have been spread via social media which is somewhat concerning, especially as they seem to have encourage some younger people to become significantly underweight to the point their health is at risk. I don’t know if we know enough about the long term effects of these labels on our wellbeing – I would want to see some good quality studies on this relationship.

    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      By labelling, do you mean a mental health diagnosis?
      If so, I would say this depends on what the person decides to share on social media.
      We all have a choice over this, and I know it is difficult when people feel they are missing out by not being on social media but they have look closely at the impact that being online is having on their mental health. If it is a negative impact, then it might be worth them taking a break from social media or cutting back on how often they log on.

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      In terms of mental health conditions, having a diagnosis or label can work well with social media as it allows a person to meet others with the condition who they might never meet in real life.
      In general we have control over what we put on social media – I appreciate that’s not always the case – and so people should only know if we have a ‘label’ if we tell them…?

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 13 Jun 2019:


      I’m not sure there is any research on this subject yet. I did have a conversation with my students once where they told me that social media can be good for raising awareness of ‘hidden’ difficulties, and that they actively participate in promotion weeks to illustrate the challenges they face. This seemed to be a good thing for them, because they felt they were doing something to educate. On the other hand I have heard from friends who do the opposite and try to stop the promotion of certain lifestyles that are very very unhealthy and can negatively impact vulnerable people.

    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 14 Jun 2019:


      Good question! I’m going to play devil’s advocate here…. what if social media is actually providing positive long term consequences? For example, a person is given a label of anxiety or depression. As a result of this, they seek support from an online group or forum who share the same label. In this instance, social media can provide a positive long term consequence!

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