It’s no secret that social media is dominating each and every country by storm. Research shows that about 3.8 billion people use different kinds of social media worldwide. The majority of these users are of the younger generation between the age of 18 to 24 years old. This is the reason why it’s safe to say that social media and self-esteem are connected in some way. Other things can also affect one’s self-esteem, for instance, missing front teeth might hurt your self-image.
Understanding Social Media
As time goes by, more and more social media platforms are emerging on the internet. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Youtube are just some of the most popular and most used applications nowadays. But how do they affect an avid social media user? According to some behavioral scientists, social media has been directly linked to low self-esteem, jealousy, anxiety, depression, narcissism, and poor social skills.
Social experiments also conclude that the self-esteem of about 60% of social media users has been affected in a negative way. About 50% admitted to having troubles with their relationship with loved ones because of excessive use of the internet, and 80% agree that the fake life that other people portray on social media has a huge impact on their personal views in life.
Negative Effects Of Social Media
Below are the negative effects of social media that we all need to be aware of:
- Depression and anxiety. Spending too much time browsing your social media accounts has a great impact on your mood. As a matter of fact, it is reported that the extreme use of social media results in poor mental health which usually leads to anxiety and depression. The reason is simple, the people on social media only share the good things in their life, normally, we compare our lives with others and end up being disappointed because they seem to have their life figured out. Psychiatrists recommend that we spend minimal time on social media to prevent this from happening.
- Cyberbullying. One o the reasons why most teenagers have low self-esteem is because of bullying. Unlike the old times where bullying is done face to face, it has now evolved into a much more dangerous habit since bullies can now mock someone anonymously. We all know how harmful bullying is, and how it can damage a person emotionally. All they have to do is create a fake account where they can hide their identity and attack someone online. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior often affects an individual’s mental health, sometimes, it even pushes them to commit suicide.
- The fear of being left out. Let’s admit, almost everyone these days use social media, even older people have personal accounts online. So it’s no surprise that a huge number of the population wants to belong and become part of the social media craze. Sadly, this typically ends in anxiety and feeling left out. For example, when you see your friends posting their travel photos, fancy gadgets, or seemingly perfect relationship with their partner, you will typically feel a little bit envious of the kind of life that they have. If you will continue comparing your life with the lives of people on social media, you might end up having low self-esteem and anxiety.
- Social media sets unrealistic expectations. This is something that most of us know already. Social media has the power to make things look perfect and flawless. It may seem harmless but this makes our expectations quite impossible to attain, leaving us disappointed and upset. The unrealistic posts on social media are what drives people to do the same thing. This is a very risky thing because it will have a domino effect on everyone. In the end, a huge part of the social media community will share things that are way too far from reality.
- It promotes false and negative body images. We all know that there are several mobile apps that can magically enhance an image. Some of these applications even feature options where you can change the shape of your body by toning down your waist, making you look taller, skinnier, and many more. Promoting this kind of unhealthy body image highly affects a person’s view of themselves. After seeing the perfectly toned abs of an Instagram model, you will most likely look in the mirror to see if you were anywhere close to their body, if not, it will add up to your anxiety. Promotion of perfect, white teeth and faces with no blemishes are going to make you feel unhappy with your self.
- Poor sleeping habits. Aside from having low self-esteem, social media also encourages poor sleeping habits. It practically became a part of our everyday lives, most especially for the younger generation. Studies show that it has negative effects on sleeping patterns which initially leads to other risks and dangers of social media such as unsatisfactory productivity and performance. Experts suggest that it would be much better if you put your gadget far from you before sleeping. Teeth grinding might affect you if your sleeping habits get messed up.
- Social media is addictive. Oftentimes, the risks and dangers of social media are initially brushed off. This happens when the individual spends too much time on it and deliberately choose browsing instead of resting, eating, or doing important things. You’ll know that you are addicted to social media when the majority of your time is spent on it and you are becoming less productive. You will also notice the huge urge to check your phone all the time even though you don’t need to.
Social Media Detox
While staying away from social media can be quite a challenge because it became a part of our everyday routine, detoxifying from it is still a good way to protect yourself from getting too addicted to it. One of the few things that you need to consider is to make sure that your self-esteem and mental health are not affected. Here are the few things that you can do to detox:
- Temporarily delete the applications.
- Encourage a buddy to do the same.
- Attend social gatherings.
- Set a bedtime alarm.
- Put time limits on your phone.
- Set a time to meditate.
- Go out and have fun with family and friends.
- Find a new hobby.