As I walk down the street in Seattle, I see person after person on their phone. One person is taking a selfie in front of Pikes Place Market, another person texting their friend, and another person posting on Facebook, missing what is going on in front of them.
I had a friend back in high school who was constantly on her phone. Whenever we were out and about, she would be on her phone. When I would invite her over and it was just the two of us, she would be on her phone. I would despise the next “ding” that would come into existence.
Many people are affected in a number of negative ways by social media, and most don’t realize the impact it has on them. I am writing to explain the ways in which social media has impacted myself, and people around me, in a negative manner. When researching why social media is bad, I found many reasons, and unfortunately, I have been a victim to many of these reasons.
Social Media Influences Self Esteem
Growing up, I fell victim to comparing myself to others over social media. Many people post about how great their lives are and post pictures of themselves looking like they are on top of the world. There are many people who start to feel bad about their lives because it isn’t as good as someone else’s.
Comparing myself to others has to do with looks on social media. I follow a lot of celebrities and models who look absolutely stunning. I have grown to do my best not to compare myself to others, but many teens and young adults struggle with the concept that everyone is beautiful in their own way. On social media, most people promote being beautiful in one way, which is by being skinny and flawless.
According to BBC, a study conducted in 2016 at Penn State University suggests that viewing selfies of another person lowers self-esteem because of them comparing themselves to people who look the happiest.
Social Media Harms Relationships
I can’t count the number of times I have been seated at a restaurant and as I look around, most people are on their cellular devices. I get saddened at the fact that people are not connecting like they used to before the use of social media.
Instead of sending letters, people send a text. Instead of calling grandma and wishing her a happy birthday, people post on Facebook. Instead of meeting people in traditional ways, people just turn to Tinder to meet people. Relationships are different now because of social media.
I have also witnessed many people become jealous of their significant other over social media. I can say that in my younger years, I struggled with this as well. There is a lot of jealousy that stems from social media by your boyfriend/girlfriend liking a picture of another gorgeous male/female. There is the jealousy that comes from people they follow, who follows them, who likes whose status, and who they post pictures with. I think social media makes relationships complicated and stressful.
Social Media is Very Addictive
Overall, I think the most important thing to recognize is that social media is addictive. I have dealt with this problem and I have witnessed people deal with this issue. I have caught myself reaching for my phone for no apparent reason, just because it’s like my body is used to reaching for it. I have caught myself hearing a “ghost notification” from Facebook or Twitter. I have been victim to using social media to pass time when I’m bored. I have also caught myself using my phone so much around my family and friends, that I start to feel shameful.
Forbes informed me that there are over 2 billion Facebook users worldwide, about 500 million daily tweets on Twitter, 95 million images uploaded to Instagram daily, and on YouTube there are over 400 hours of video uploaded per minute. Those numbers speak for themselves in how many people are using social media and are posting to it.
Today, I try to limit my social media usage by setting a time that I cannot go over. Luckily, I have “screen time” on my iPhone to track the amount of time I spend on social media daily. It’s important to recognize that social media is not your life. When using social media you are missing the life that’s going on around you.