How social media affects you


Kaelin Collar

Ways to avoid being harmed by social media.

As advancements in technology happen every day, social media is one thing our society has become addicted to. Over the years, social media has developed several different platforms, each individually unique and having aspects that target distinct interests of all age groups. However, addiction to social media has led to unfortunate effects on people.

As human beings, we were created to desire the companionship of others to thrive in life and the strength of connections has an extensive impact on our happiness and mental health. Social media has allowed social connections to others, which can ultimately ease stress, anxiety, and depression and boost self-worth through comfort. A lack of social connection can risk your mental and emotional health. Ironically, considering social media was designed to bring people closer, spending excessive time on platforms can make you feel isolated.

While new platforms are frequently developed, the most popular ones include Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Reddit and TikTok. According to SpoutSocial, there are 6.8 million users for 2022 when averaging the number of monthly active users between Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Tiktok, focusing on an age group between 14-29 years old. Essentially, social media has benefits and consequences. It is about understanding the advantages and disadvantages of social media and creating a healthy balance between an online world and reality.

The benefits of social media include finding new friends with similar interests, raising awareness on important issues, seeking and offering emotional support, communicating with friends and family around the world, and having a creative and self-expression outlet. Although virtual interaction on social media does not have the same psychological benefits as face-to-face contact, there are positive manners that can help support your well-being and allow you to stay without the use of social media..

Unfortunately, all good things are toxic in excess, such as social media. Social media can negatively influence people, including inadequacy about life appearance, the fear of missing out, depression and anxiety, isolation, self-absorption and cyberbullying.

Even if you are aware of manipulated social media posts, they can still make you feel insecure about your own life. We are aware that others tend to share the highlights of their life, but when viewing a post, that fact becomes the most forgotten thing.

The fear of missing out has become one of the most relevant feelings online. The idea that you are missing out on certain things can negatively impact your self-esteem and trigger pessimistic feelings.

Face-to-face interaction is vital for a positive lifestyle to be mentally healthy. Prioritizing social media contact rather than in-person relationships can increase stress, reduce mood and exacerbate mental health disorders.

One of the most posted contents on social media is selfies which, in many ordinary people, take tons of photos to get the “perfect” one. However, sharing endless selfies and your thoughts online can produce unhealthy self-absorption and cause an individual to distance themselves from real-life connections.

According to the Help Guide, roughly 10% of teenagers reported being bullied on social media. Hiding behind an online username allows bullies to feel confident when degrading others. The ambiguity of not knowing who the bully is encourages them to take their pain and cast it onto others.

Considering everyone is different, researchers cannot create a recommended amount of time online. Generally, psychologists from the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology recommend spending only 30 minutes on social media daily. Awareness of the negative signs and limiting your time online can help individuals stop the destruction before it is too late. A benefit to advancements in technology is the accessibility to set up a limited usage of time on apps on devices.

Do not be discouraged from establishing a social media profile if you desire to stay in the loop with current events and for self-pleasure. However, creating a balance between online and in-person is essential to have an overall positive sense of being.