The unseen downsides of social media


Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Social media. It is a platform that has become such a big aspect of today’s society. Social media is popular and it may be because people desire the ability to express their own voice. People want connection and community, but some would say that social media does the exact opposite. 

At first glance, social media is a simple platform where people have the ability to post photos of themselves. When one takes a closer look, they recognize that much of the story cannot be told in a millisecond it takes to scroll past a photo. While scrolling through social media people find themselves consumed in unrealistic body standards, yet a single photo never shows the whole story. 

High school student Abigail Augustine says that she thinks “people often feel this way because they begin to create opinions of themselves based off of others that look prettier than you.” She says she often thinks things like, “‘I wish I was them,’ or ‘wow look at their life.’” 

Even when one looks at a very popular social media influencer, the photo can be deceiving. Kendall Jenner, for example, looks seemingly perfect in her photos. Even with these outgoing qualities, Jenner’s post doesn’t tell everything about her character. Again, what you see in the photos someone posts never tells everything about that person. 

Kendall Jenner displays a very glamorous life yet she struggles from anxiety and panic attacks which constantly cause a slow down in her life. 

Similar to the example above, social media causes people to compare their own lives with others. Psychologist Leon Festinger proposed the theory of social comparison in 1954. He believed that people have an innate drive to evaluate themselves. According to social comparison theory, individuals determine their own social and personal worth based on how they measure up against others.

Young people are so influenced by posts of “perfect” people, and it causes them to compare themselves to others, leading to bad emotions. 

When someone looks at a filtered photo they may not believe that they have what society deems as perfect. Which has led to a body image issue in our society. As well as a lack of confidence in young people and people are constantly putting themselves down over not looking the way a social media model does. Some people even spend hours trying to find the perfect photo only to edit and filter it. 

Society needs to realize that a photo does not make a person who they are and there is so much more below the surface of the perfect outfit. We need to make social media body negativity a thing of the past, because even in 2021 people still base their lives off of a millisecond when there is so much more to the story.