Some think social media is a godsend for keeping us connected with and allowing us to share information in a way we never could before. Others think social media can be a detriment to the way we communicate and relate as a species. Regardless of what side of the social media fence you’re on, it clear it’s becoming a staple in our lives. Its important we know the lasting effects it has on us. Studies have shown Instagram wreaks havoc the self-esteem of young people, especially young women. Because Instagram is photo and video-based, people put their lives on display to be judged, commented on, and emulated. This leads to psychological issues like anxiety, depression, and bottomed out self-esteem. It also promotes approval-seeking behavior.
Experts did a study on the effects of social media on the mood of young women. 300 college women participated in this study. One-third of them scrolled through their Instagram feed, one third scrolled through Facebook and the final third played bejeweled. All three groups were asked to do this for seven minutes. The young women on IG reported thinking about their appearance more than the other two groups. In those seven minutes, their body satisfaction decreased significantly. Instagram was found to impact the psyche of young girls because they’re constantly comparing themselves to the images they see.
The media has always pumped out beauty standards and ideals to women in order to get them to buy more to be beautiful. So it is natural that social media is used as a tool to profit from the insecurities of young women. If you want to be attractive and happy, buy this makeup, wear Fashion Nova, slay these hair extensions, rock these drag lashes, and don’t be afraid to get a consultation with this plastic surgeon. One can almost hear the ads screaming, “everybody’s doing it! This is what beauty looks like! You need to look like this too!” This constant comparing oneself to others has a negative impact on body image and mental health.
Facebook has a lesser effect on self-esteem because Facebook isn’t selfie based. People spend more time on Facebook commenting with their friends, reacting to post, and sharing things than they do look at images.