Every single one of us uses social media everyday. Whether it is Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, etc. Social media is a great way to stay connected to or even catch up with friends and it’s a platform where we can share our lives with others. Even with all the benefits that social media has to offer, I believe it can also have many negative effects.
In my experience, social media has caused me a lot of anxiety. I find myself constantly comparing my life to others. I see my friends or famous “influencers” posts and wish I looked like or could be them. However, people only post the good parts of their lives. We never see when someone is having a bad day or when they are not looking their best, giving us all a false sense of reality. I always find myself feeling like I could be doing better or could look better because I only see when my friends or these influencers look and act their best. Like I said, social media is a great way to share our lives; however, are we truly “sharing our lives” if we only share the best parts of it? Furthermore, most of these posts are edited to make us look our best. It took me a long time to come to this realization, but I realized that what I’m comparing myself to is not real. Social media allows us to highlight the best versions of ourselves and make others believe our life is amazing. I am also aware that I am part of this problem, only posting when I am doing something fun or editing my pictures to look a certain way. I had to realize that the way I feel when I see my friends pictures on social media, is the way my friends might feel when I post.
These comparisons are not the only thing that has increased my anxiety. I am constantly on my phone because of social media. There is always something new to look at and always a “reason” to be on my phone. I would spend countless hours on my phone scrolling through Instagram and Tik Tok when I could be doing my school work. Then, I get anxious about how much of my work I had procrastinated doing because I’m on social media. I have tried to set timers on my phone for how long I can stay on certain apps and I try to put my phone on “do not disturb.” However, that doesn’t help. When my phone is on “do not disturb” I tend to get even more anxious that I’m missing an important text or an important post and I find myself checking my phone even more. Lately, I have been putting my phone on “do not disturb” and leaving it at home while I do my school work. I’ve found that this has helped me to stay focused and not get dragged into the hole that can be social media.
There are many other reasons why social media can cause anxiety or affect someone’s mental health, but these are the main impacts that social media has had on me. My hope is to let everyone know that, unfortunately, it’s completely normal for social media to have a negative effect on you and if it has affected you the same way it has me, you can feel secure in knowing that social media is not always what it seems.
Written by: Madeline Link