Social Media Use Linked To Poor Mental Health In Indonesia

Social media use contributes to poor mental health in Indonesia, new research finds.

AsianScientist (Jul. 3, 2019) – In a survey of over 22,000 people in Indonesia, researchers have found that heavy social media usage is linked to poor mental health in Indonesia. Their findings have been published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.

Although several studies have suggest that social media use can have a negative impact on mental health, not much is known about whether these findings also apply in developing nations such as Indonesia. To address this issue, a team of researchers led by Dr. Sujarwoto Sujarwoto of the University of Brawijaya Malang, Indonesia, analyzed data from the 2014 Indonesia Family Life Survey, which polled 22,423 individuals age 20 years and older.

Consistent with global patterns, they found that social media use contributes to poor mental health in Indonesia, with additional features specific to Indonesia. For example, the country’s high levels of inequality are highlighted on social media, leading to envy and resentment. Also, the constant news about government failures, corruption, crime, conflicts and poverty was a contributing factor, the researchers said.

Social media is incredibly popular in Indonesia; Facebook reported a total of 54 million individual users in Indonesia—making it the fourth largest Facebook community in the world—while Twitter reported 22 million Indonesian users, putting the country in fifth place worldwide. Indonesian users publish a total of 385 tweets per second on average.

Meanwhile, mental disorders are becoming a major burden in the country. Based on the latest Indonesia Basic Health Research survey 2018, the prevalence of individuals with mental disorders in the country is an estimated 11.8 million people.

Global Development Institute researcher Dr. Gindo Tampubolon said: “It’s a strong reminder that these technologies can have a downside. We would like to see public health officials think creatively about how we can encourage citizens to take a break from social media or be aware of the negative consequences it can have on mental health.”

The article can be found at: Sujarwoto et al. (2019) A Tool to Help or Harm? Online Social Media Use and Adult Mental Health in Indonesia.


Source: University of Manchester; Photo: Pixabay.
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