The Negative Effects Of Social Media: Is It Harming Our Mental Health?

There’s been studies proving that social media does indeed hurt our mental health. However, is it really harmful? Or is the harm self-inflicted? That’s my question.

As a young woman, I got to experience a pre-social media era and it was great. Now, I’m not saying that social media made my life hell, I just don’t miss it in my daily life. Having said that, what do social media platforms mean to me? Nothing. Facebook, Instagram and whatever young kids are into these days are just places where you share pictures and stories. However, what might seem like an innocent platform can actually become (for some) a perverse tool to indulge in narcissist pursuits. Let’s be honest here, we all are or were guilty of this. Otherwise, these platforms weren’t be so successful.

The Negative Effects Of Social Media

No doubt, social media has the potential to harm one’s mental health. However, is it “really” harmful? Let me explain. Is the harmful side “real” or self-inflicted?

negative effects of social media

Social Media And Self-Image

As I said before, these seemingly innocent online platforms can become perverse places that feed our unconscious narcissistic needs. Take Instagram as an example, why does it have so many filters for a person’s face? I get everyone wants to look pretty in pictures, but when your face is barely recognizable because of all the filters… it’s time to stop. To be honest, these social media platforms are indirectly teaching more about self-hate than self-love. That might sound a bit extreme for some, but if you look at it closer, it’s all about comparing yourself to others. However, people don’t do it because they like to, they do it because it’s human nature. What comes with comparing yourself to others? Envy. Let me tell you something, envy is like drinking poison and hoping for the other person to die. Don’t do it.

Social Media And Cyberbullying

Do you consider cyberbullying as “real” bullying? I’m almost tempted to say no, but I understand things aren’t so black and white. In my opinion, being cyber-bullied by someone is definitely a nuisance. Nonetheless, I view “offline bullying” as something way more threatening. Why? Maybe I’m old school, but I don’t consider the online world as a “real world”. Therefore, anything that happens online in terms of bullying or harassment carries very little weight. You see, it’s like having someone verbally threatening you or taunting you from a very far place, it doesn’t really count. Yes, it’s annoying but what they are doing doesn’t really matter, because it’s all talk no real action. In addition, if the problems are happening online, you can always go offline. Take a break from the so-called “online world” and focus on what really matters. Having said that, seeing kids upset because someone is talking shit about them online doesn’t really register in my mind.

Social Media And Relationships

Why do people update their relationship status online? To whom is that information relevant? In addition, why would you voluntary put pictures and stories to show how great your relationship is? What’s the intent behind your actions? Are you legitimately happy? Or are you trying to make yourself feel better than others? That’s the taboo side of these platforms that nobody talks about. You see, I get the narcissist side of these platforms. They are basically online scrapbooks filled with highlights or seemingly perfect moments of your life. In other words, everyone is trying to look “perfect” in these places. In addition, we have so much more control over our online image online than our offline image. Everything can be altered to our taste in the online world. In the end, we only see what “our friends” want us to see.

Having said that, I don’t agree when studies say social media is hurting us. It’s just a tool and it’s in our power to use however we want to. If it’s hurting you, shut it down. You see, the way how these platforms affect us is a choice more than anything else. Unfortunately, it’s easier to blame on something else than blaming ourselves. Therefore, if you find yourself addicted to the online world, remember it was your decision. On the bright side, it’s always possible to step back and shift our focus on what really matters: the real world.