As an influencer I am impacted by the mental harm of social media myself. It may seem like we are more connected and more in touch with people than ever before in history. But it turns out that social media is actually doing a lot more harm than it is good. Much of the damage it does is to user’s mental health. This is why social media is harmful to your mental health.
In 2020 Doomscrolling was finally given a name, but it isn’t a new phenomenon whatsoever. For years now social media, especially Facebook has been turning into a constant stream of bad news that you seemingly can’t escape. That constant stream of negativity absolutely has an impact on your mental health and even your physical health. It causes you extra stress that continues on well after you’ve put your phone down.
Only Shows the Best Side of Things
On social media, especially Instagram you are only seeing the best parts of life. You aren’t seeing the real picture. You aren’t seeing the downs that go along with the ups. This leads to you believing that all of these people, your friends, family, and even strangers have the perfect life while you’re…stuck in the grind, not doing anything or other unhelpful thoughts. This things will eat away at the back of your mind without you even realizing it and where there was once contentment now there is jealousy, feelings of failure, and depression.
What ends up happening is that you get unrealistic expectations about how your life should be. How your body should be. Nevermind that everything on social media is photoshopped. Your brain starts to believe that everyone’s life is like that except yours. You get unrealistic expectations and sometimes that can cause a lot of harm. In the early 2000s there was a lot of talk about how photoshop in magazines was giving teen girls unrealistic expectations of what women should look like. They all had perfect skin, imperfections were removed, and the women were all made to look like they had supermodel bodies. These days that is still going on, except instead of in magazines its on front of those teens (and adults) every time they turn on their phone.
Everything about social media is designed to increase your anxiety. When a post you make doesn’t get enough likes, when you are constantly bombarded with terrible news, and political arguments. It can make you anxious about the state of the world, about your life, and about the future. The negativity adds on fast and you may not feel it adding up until you are bursting with new anxiety issues that you never had before.
Finally, there is the crippling loneliness that comes from being on social media too much. While yes, you are getting that little thrill from receiving a message or getting a like…what you aren’t getting is real human contact. This often happens because on social media it is more of a performance than reality. There is a fear that you can’t speak your mind and be honest. Instead you have to be constantly selling yourself because you never know who might be watching.
Have you been impacted by the mental harm of social media? How did you create balance? Are you helping your kids manage their mental health and anxiety from the impact of social media?