Several suicides were reported in Sri Lanka recently where there were sufficient reasons to believe that the deaths were the direct result of the victims’ engagement with social media. Suicides-and other mental health problems-precipitated or propagated by social media is a global issue and are by no means confined to Sri Lanka. Restricting access to social media is not an option. Such measures are usually counterproductive and authorities promptly announced that such a measure is not being contemplated. Since policing social media has not proven successful, an appropriate response would be to design technology that helps to identify suspicious online behaviours, promoting parental supervision of social media activity when indicated, encouraging users to report cyberbullying or sexually predatory behaviour and educating users, especially those in vulnerable age groups about inappropriate behaviour on social media. It is a process that needs to be set in motion urgently and efficiently instead of being relegated to the bottom of a priority list when news of the social media inspired suicides are swept away from the headlines.
How to Cite:
Weerasundera, R., 2014. The impact of social media in Sri Lanka: issues and challenges in mental health. Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry, 5(1), pp.1–2. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljpsyc.v5i1.7049