I have noticed in the past, that I use to be so obsessed with my phone that I wouldn’t even pay attention to what was going on around me. This problem is seeming to get worse due to the amount of young adults getting more involved with social media and our tendency to always be on our apps. Always being on our phones causes us to feel more alone. Even though we’re texting people, we don’t have physical contact with them, making it easy to spend the day in the comfort of your home by yourself. Social media hinders self-esteem and physical relationships, putting down the phone would lead to greater self-love and deeper connections with people
Have you ever been at a restaurant with all your friends and looked up from your phone to see that everyone else was absorbed by their phone screen? I remember just the other day, my parents and I were having dinner and we saw a younger couple both on their phones, acting as if the other person wasn’t even there. I watched them in sadness because they went out to a public place, just to be anti-social. Writer Lisa Eadiccic wrote that, “On average, people in the United States across all age groups check their phones 46 times per day, according to Deloitte.” This means that 46 times out of our day, we decide to be on our phone instead of socializing with the people around us. Yet, this occurrence seems like a daily norm, instead of a problem that needs to be exposed. Even when my boyfriend and I would hangout and there was just silence between us, I would use my phone as a security blanket so it wouldn’t be so awkward. In that scenario, I decided to be on my phone rather than have a conversation with someone I chose to spend my time with. Social media and cell phones have continuously made relationships duller and made it easy to let silence take over instead of the joy of having a nice time with someone you love.
For many years have I dealt with low self-esteem and not being able to fully love myself. I realized that the reason for my self-esteem lowering, was the fact that I would always compare myself to women that I saw on my social media accounts. I would obsess over things I couldn’t change about myself. For years this was a constant cycle of looking at unrealistic ideas of what a woman should be and what they should look like. There was always a constant reminder that I wasn’t thin, smart, or rich enough and that really took a toll on how a viewed myself and my self-worth. The only thing that changed my outlook on how I saw myself was putting down my phone, and not feeding into social media’s ideas of what perfection was. If I hadn’t separated myself from social media, I think I’d still be in that cycle of looking at Instagram and Twitter, then looking at myself and seeing so many things I thought I had to change about myself in order to fit in like the rest.
Many of us, myself included, have probably been through a panic or a need to make it seem like our lives are so great through social media. We’re on our phones 24/7. Even when we wake up we have the urge to immediately check our phones. Publisher Lisa Eadicicco said that,” Generally, most respondents across all age groups said they look at their phones within five minutes of waking up. Statistically, 26% of those in the 18-24 age range said they look at their phones immediately upon waking up.” There’s no need to do this, yet this is how we’ve learned how to socialize and spend our time. Shockingly, 60 percent of people that use social media have admitted that because of how much they use it, their self-esteem had been impacted in a negative way. Writer Clarissa Silva states that,” Match reported 51% say social media has made them feel more self-conscious about their appearance. Flores further explains “research has also shown that Facebook users are becoming increasingly depressed from comparing themselves to their own profile. Meaning that if a person’s reality does not match the digital illusion they post on their profiles, emotionally, one may feel they are not living up to the “best” form of themselves.” There is so much pressure to be perfect on social media and try so hard to achieve this idea of “perfection” that we lose ourselves and everything we believe in. Even relationships we have with people is greatly affected by social media. Writer Clarissa Silva explains how being too involved with social media really hinders how others see ourselves,” Your lauded self on social media is constantly seeking more validation through electronic likes, not life. Lusinski describes this best, “I feel many people convey all the positive pics, updates, etc. — but then, once you date them, you realize there are several other layers to them, not just the positive façade they convey online.” Putting up this façade creates a shield between you and the you that has been sculpted by social medias standards.
There have been many studies done that have shown how being on social media has hindered a women’s self-esteem, in one study, scientist Fan Yang stated that,” Taking selfies and groupies and sharing them to social media has become a popular online activity. This study aimed to examine the psychological effects of posting and viewing selfies and groupies on social media by conducting a survey (N = 275). Results indicated frequent selfie viewing behavior led to decreased self-esteem whereas frequent groupie viewing behavior led to increased self-esteem.” Which means that even though it might look like a group of friends is having the time of their lives, they might actually be bored and in a sense trying to portray something they wish they had. A study done by Jaehee Jung showed that women who were exposed to media images had an impact on the women’s mood that caused a decrease in positivity and an elevation of both anxiety and depression preexposure to post exposure. Jahee Jung even found that,” In both pre-and post-exposure conditions, women with high-appearance self-schema exhibited significantly greater negative mood and lower body dissatisfaction and appearance evaluation than did those with low-appearance self-schema. This study suggests that media images of thinness and attractiveness may negatively affect college women’s mood.” This is the sad truth of today’s society yet we allow social media to take over our lives and think lower of ourselves because we try to compare what we have to people that probably aren’t happy with themselves either. Even younger girls were affected in a research study done by Duane A. Hargreaves, stating that,” Sociocultural theories of body image suggest that body dissatisfaction results from unrealistic societal beauty ideals, and one way of transmitting these ideals is through the mass media.” It’s inevitable to have lower self-esteem the more time you spend on social media.
Some people can argue that social media brings people closer together, making it easier to make connections with people. Yet, when we’re texting our friends while at home by ourselves, is that really socializing? Or is it creating a form of security, making us feel like it’s okay to not go out or have physical relationships. Writer Clarissa Silva explains that social media could be creating paradox effects,” It seems that social media is creating a paradox effect: giving off the illusion of many choices, while making it harder to find viable options. Can it be that our highly connected world has now become disconnected?” Nowadays, many of us don’t feel the need to socialize with our friends or family because we have Facebook and other social media to connect. But that makes our social skills lower, when conversing with people in real life, making it harder to create deeper connections. We even go so far as to fake our happiness, posting pictures with big smiles even though minutes were spent trying to find the perfect angle. Clarissa Silva asked a licensed psychologist what her thoughts were on the this subject in which she replied,” Dr. Jennifer Rhodes, a licensed psychologist, relationship expert, and the founder of the bi-coastal relationship consultancy, Rapport Relationships, explains “My clients that are a little obsessed with following dates on social media really do lack the skills to communicate effectively in person. This lack of security and communication skills most definitely increases anxiety and depression. I see so much anxiety related to dating and how to navigate texting & communication that I have started to use Social Fitness training to teach assertiveness skills with my clients”. If we don’t put down our phones and experience life first hand, we might lose our selves and everything we’ve learned before social media.
Look how amazing our lives are, look at this new picture I just posted and how many likes I got. This is what we have become comfortable with. Gawking at body builders and the perfect bodies, obsessed with the new fancy cars we see people with on Instagram. When I use to be glued to my phone all day “talking” to my friends, I got this empty pit in my stomach and asked myself, is this my life now? Constantly worried about my appearance and how people view me. I started to see myself slowing slipping into a depressed state because I thought I could never raise to the epectations social media so proudly put up. But when I realized this, I always saw that no one was really happy with themselves even though they portrayed something different through fake smiles and selfies posted every other day. Even my relationships started to dissipate because I became all too familiar with staying home all day thinking I was socializing every time I tweeted something. Friendships don’t develop over the phone. Socializing in person is what makes us have deeper connections and that’s not possible if we’re always on our phones. Nowadays, I see everyone so obsessed with trying to get more followers and likes, as if that’s a representation of yourself worth. Yet, with that being said it is only getting worse, the self-hatred, the urge to make ourselves perfect because of social media. None of these problems will go away unless we start making a change and that change starts with putting our phones down and reaching out to the people that love us and enjoy our company.
We need to put down our phones before we truly lose our sense of self, what we believe in, and what we love about ourselves. How many times have we sat alone, scrolling through Instagram, mesmerized by the models, or things that are impossible to have, wondering why we aren’t as perfect as those people? Seeing all these unrealistic ideas of what life should be makes us doubt our own life, and how we should be living it. No one should feel less then because of what social media puts out yet that’s exactly what happens every time we open up a new social media app. We cannot lose ourselves on the path to trying to be perfect in the eyes of social media because that’s not what being perfect is. Loving yourself starts with a break from the phone and all the pressures that come with it. Instead of going on Facebook or twitter to see how our friends are doing, we should just pick up the phone and call them, or ask them to get a coffee and talk about life. Social media has made us all a little too comfortable with being alone. But the fact is, we’re not alone. The world is filled with beautiful things just waiting to be seen and experienced. Social media has become a virus to the millennial generation and we have the ability to find the vaccine.
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