Social Media is singly one of the biggest growing industries in the world. Social Media now has things like positions opening in the job market to large corporations and organizations taking part in it to the normal, every day use. But is there such a thing as too much use of social media? Studies show yeah, kind of.
Social Media has become so addicting, it’s often the last thing people check before they go to bed and the first thing they check when they wake up in the morning. Social media has also shown to contribute to things like high levels of stress, effects on mental health, and can even contribute to illnesses such as eating disorders.
What is Social Media?
According to Medical News Today, social media is “array of Internet sites that enable people from all over the world to interact. This can be through discussion, photos, video and audio.” This can be anything from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and so on. Although social media offers a unique way to connect with others, it does not come without a price.
How Social Media Affects You
According to a 2012 study done by Anxiety UK, 53% of participants reported a behavior change after using social media. The study also showed that users who reported a higher use of Facebook had a negative impact on face-to-face interaction and even brought forth negative feelings about one’s self.
Social media use has even been linked to having effects on our egos and self-esteem. It’s hard not to get an ego boost when your post receives a lot of likes or retweets, but at the same time when we do not receive the amount of “love” from our fellow users, it can breed a sense of inadequacy within ourselves.
In the same thread, we start comparing our lives and accomplishments to what we see others post on social media, creating an unwarranted sense of competition. On the flip side, social media can also develop narcissistic behavior. According to Panek, people can overestimate the value of their opinions on social media. The compulsive need to check in with social media may sometimes do more harm than it does good.
Over exposure to social media can also mean over exposure to media that can negatively affect the way you see yourself. One of the most common, and somewhat shocking, instances is a trend called Thinsirpation, also known as Thinspo. This trend basically promotes unhealthy ways of losing weight in order to be “beautiful” or “starving for perfection.”
These posts have shown to directly influence and encourage eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. The effects that social media can have on self-esteem can also directly relate to eating disorders. The feelings of inadequacy are similar, but this instance is specifically about how we view ourselves and our bodies.
What You Can Do
Put the phone down for a bit. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be connected to your friends, colleagues, and even the world around you, but overuse of social media can become addictive and very stressful and damaging. Putting your phone down for a little while every now and then can help strengthen your relationships outside of the internet, reduce stress, and make you more connected to people and things outside of social media. Give it shot.