The Negative Impacts that Social Media Have On Our Self-Esteem
According to studies published, “Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills.” (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/social-medias-impact-on-self-esteem_us_58ade038e4b0d818c4f0a4e4). As someone who has grown up in the digital era, I can see the negative effect that social media can have on self-esteem. The dopamine rush from getting likes and comments on social media posts becomes addictive, and can affect how we value ourselves based on the responses we get. If a post doesn’t get enough positive feedback, we automatically think to what we did. Was it not funny enough? Did we not look good enough? Was my achievement not as great as I thought it was? We begin to value the opinions of others rather than our own.
Social media is designed to be a showcase of all the highlighted moments that happen in our lives. Our Instagram feed is saturated with vacation pictures, relationship appreciation posts and selfies of your friends who could be straight-up models. What we don’t usually see are the hardships people go through, the failed relationships and how they look when they first wake up.
Conducted in interviews from people ranging from ages 28–73, this Huffington Post article found that “60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way, 50% reported social media having negative effects on their relationships, and 80% reported that is easier to be deceived by others through their sharing on social media” (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/social-medias-impact-on-self-esteem_us_58ade038e4b0d818c4f0a4e4). I can say for myself that Social Media and Instagram in particular have sometimes been damaging to my mental health, and as a result of that I’ve had to take time off from the app to get back into my own life and away from watching others.
A major consequence of valuing social media metrics is valuing data from other passive users that are just scrolling through, to determine your own sense of self-worth. Vanity metrics, the data points that make us feel good if they go up, don’t help us make decisions. When people start valuing themselves on number of followers or likes, it creates a situation that requires more and more likes or followers in order to achieve the same feeling, and it’s not healthy or sustainable.