College can be seen as an amazing experience which opens doors to endless opportunities and possibilities both academically, and socially. Lately, however, rates of depression and anxiety among college students has been unprecedented, becoming the top reasons for students to seek counseling.
Approximately one in every five college students are currently coping with anxiety or depression. Psychiatry professor at Wayne State University, David Rosenberg set out to determine the factors involved with this mental health epidemic.
Rosenberg cites technology as one of the most common factors of depression and anxiety among college students. While our obsession with social media may lead us to feel more connected to the world around us in some ways, in other ways it only leads people to feel more isolated. Social media can be particularly harmful because it creates a barrier of competition between one’s real life and one’s virtual life.
People are finding it increasingly more difficult to simply live in the moment because they are constantly feeling the need to update their Facebook or Instagram profiles. Instead of just experiencing things, people now stress about how they can share their experiences with the world and worry about how others will receive their ‘virtual life’.
Numerous other studies have also shown correlations between mobile phone addiction and excess smartphone usage with sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety and overall stress.
Technology is certainly not the only serious factor influencing anxiety and depression in college students. Other factors include the dependence and prevalence of stimulant prescriptions, pressure from parents and peers to succeed academically, financial stress due to college loans in addition to the fear of not finding a job after school, genetic predispositions, cyberbullying, cigarette usage, homesickness, and parental over-involvement in a child’s college experience. With so many anxiety and depression triggers already out there, it poses the question of whether our technology is truly worth it.