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October 6, 2016
The United Kingdom's Department of Health used to have a Health and Social Care Information Centre; actually it still does, functionally, but it was renamed NHS Digital on August 1, 2016. The rebranding is unsurprising and merely reflects today's trend to "go digital" and put information on the Internet for easy and instant access.
Modern technology and modern social progress certainly have made life easier in many respects, haven't they? The digital age is upon us, but is all change for the better?
One of the reports from the new NHS Digital notes "a huge spike in the number of young women suffering from mental health problems" according to Metro.co.uk:
According to the latest study from NHS Digital, more than a quarter (26%) of young women aged 16 to 24 are suffering worrying symptoms – more than three times the rate for men the same age (9%). And around a quarter of young women have self-harmed – most commonly by cutting themselves – compared to just 10% of men the same age.
The Internet seems to have aided the development of these troubling conditions:
Sally McManus, the study's lead author, says that social media and the pursuit of 'perfection' could be fuelling the rise in anxiety and depression in young women.
Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg, clinical director of the Priory's well-being centres, said: "Younger people of today – the "touch screen" generation – see the internet as their friend but for many it is actually a huge distorting mirror, presenting a world of "perfect" people with perfect lives against whom they judge themselves very harshly."
Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind charity, said
"[Social media's] instantaneous and anonymous nature means it's easy for people to make hasty and sometimes ill-advised comments that can negatively affect other people's mental health."
With our easy access to more information and more people directly, we have increased our ability to learn and to communicate to others. With it comes the temptation to project our own frustrations and occasional dark thoughts on to others. When that happens, social media deserves to be rebranded as antisocial media--but through no fault of its own. Human beings, unlike beasts, are responsible to make moral choices. •
Further reading from Salvo:
Raising Daughters in Troubled Times
by Marcia Segelstein
Roald Dahl's Warning About Screen Entertainment Might Open Some Eyes
by Michael S. Moynihan
Welcome to the Jungle
Marshall McLuhan, Media, and the Ecology of the Digital Age
by John Coleman
Also, be sure to take a look at the new issue of Salvo!
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