In today’s fast-paced and demanding world, discussions surrounding mental and physical health have gained significant traction. For Men’s Health Week 2023, the Men’s Health Forum are focusing on how the internet is impacting the health of men across the country.
Although the creation of the internet has revolutionised the way we live and communicate, there are also concerns about its impact on our well-being, particularly in the context of mental health.
The rise of the internet and digital technologies has led to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, as hours spent sitting in front of screens for work, gaming, or binge-watching shows has contributed to a lack of physical activity.
According to a report from the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities, around 1 in 3 men are not active enough for good health. This inactive lifestyle can lead to various health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Encouraging men to incorporate physical exercise into their daily routines, setting limits on screen time, and promoting active hobbies can mitigate the negative effects of prolonged internet use on physical health.
Men’s mental health can also be significantly impacted by their internet usage. The constant accessibility of online platforms can lead to addictive behaviours and a sense of digital dependence. Excessive use of social media can contribute to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and depression as individuals compare themselves to curated online personas. It’s estimated that the average UK user spends 110 minutes on social media per day.
Promoting digital literacy and responsible internet use, encouraging breaks from technology, and fostering real-life connections can help men maintain a healthy balance between their online and offline lives.
Furthermore, the internet provides a vast amount of information at our fingertips, but this constant stream of data can be overwhelming and contribute to stress. The pressure to stay up to date with news, trends, and social media updates can lead to information overload and a heightened sense of anxiety. Men may also feel pressure to maintain a certain image online, which can be mentally exhausting. A study conducted by the suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Instagram, found 48% of men aged 16-40 had struggled because of how they feel about their body.
Men may relieve this pressure by taking part in ‘digital detoxes’ (taking time away from social media), setting boundaries on online consumption, and promoting mindfulness practices which can help manage stress levels and prioritise mental well-being in the digital age.
The internet has brought unprecedented convenience and connectivity, but it also presents challenges to men’s physical and mental health. By promoting physical activity, encouraging responsible internet use, and prioritising mental well-being in the digital realm, we can create a healthier online environment for men.
It is crucial to raise awareness about the potential pitfalls and provide resources to support men in finding a balanced approach to their internet usage.
MAC are committed to improving the physical and mental wellbeing of men through ground-breaking clinical trials. To find out more about MAC’s current trials or register to be notified of future research that may be suited to you, visit our current trials webpage.