Why Social Media Is So Toxic | The Negative Impacts On Our Mental Health

Social media has taken the world by storm, how has it negatively impacted our mental health. Will it become the new "smoking"? 06.21.24

a couple being impacted by the toxic nature of social media

We Compare Our Lives To A Misrepresentation Of Others

What we see on social media is never a true representation of someone's life. People are always touting on their socials the highlights of their lives. We don't get to see everything that's happening in between. This is painting a false narrative. It’s much like the first time I brought my now wife, to a baseball game in America. We went to go see the Chicago Cubs play at their home turf Wrigley Field.

Upon getting there, we found our seats, grabbed some snacks, and got settled. Ten minutes in and my wife turns to me and says “So wait, where's all the action?” This puzzled look painted across her face. I smile back and said “What do you mean? This is baseball!” I knew what she was getting at though. The only representation of baseball that she knew was from the movies.

In the movies, all we see are the highlights of the baseball games. When watching Field Of Dreams or For The Love Of The Game we see hit after hit, players scrambling across the field, the chaos! But in reality baseball is a slow, drawn out game for those who have the patience of a sloth. Social media is much the same. We see all the amazing things that people are highlighting in their lives. The vacation to a tropical paradise, the lakefront stroll catching the sunset, the flashing lights of the night club. Not the bs problems and boring monotonous stuff that everyday life consists of. Who wants to see that? It gives us this false narrative of what other people’s lives look like, and we compare it to our own. It’s unfair to do so because what you’re comparing is only 10% of what is actually happening.

group of people all on their phones

It’s A Waste Of Time

We all know what doom scrolling is and we all fall victim to it. I find myself closing out instagram thinking “get off it already”, only to flip through my phone and reopen it back up. How much time I've spent flipping through reels without even noticing it. Eventually I took action but this was after years of this. I found an app that can lock you out if it gets to this point. I personally paid for one because I know I can burn forty five minutes without even blinking.

The Constant Need For Validation

Chasing those likes and always feeling insufficient. Yes it’s important to want to do better and be better, but in my humbled opinion, a post or some content you made isn’t necessarily it. For kids and the younger generations it’s literally a grading scale to evaluate how much you are liked or how popular you are. But even if you have a lot of followers, they may not even know who you are or actually care about you. It becomes a game in your head of trying to feel accepted or cool by people you have no real connection with. You are judging your worth off a bunch of strangers.

pill bottles emulating likes and social engagements, showing how people are addicted to social media

We're Stuck On Our Phones

At the table while eating, while we are out, while we are walking, we are constantly trying to capture new content to post and get those likes. Instead of being present in the moment and enjoying the life we have, we are sucked into this void of being more worried about missing an opportunity for some content rather than missing what is actually happening.

Zero Accountability | You Can Hide Behind A Screen Name

We get all of these negative assholes coming out of the woodworks and trying to tear you down. And the saddest part is they don’t even have to own up to any of their words. They can create a username and that’s it. No posts, no face, no-one knows who they are, and they can simply write anything. People love to cut other people down, or make them feel insignificant in order to make themselves feel better. Misery loves company is the oldest of sayings. And it’s true. It’s disgusting how people treat one another on social media and one of the main driving forces, is the fact that they don’t have to be held accountable.

Filters Giving Unreal Expectations

How we define beauty is skewed by filters. We believe people are flawless, because they use photo editing applications to correct their flaws. It’s creating unrealistic expectations for the younger generations. We look at pictures or videos and think this is actually how they look. When you remove the filters and excessive makeup, you can actually see they too aren't perfect. Check out the pixelated, unfiltered version of Kendal Jenner below. It's like she's a completely different person. Celebrities and influencers tend to hide the unfiltered side of themselves to the public because the public demands perfection. It's a self fulfilling prophecy.

kendall jenner with and without makeup

Because You Have Followers, We Believe You Have A PhD

We think there is a correlation between follower count and the creditibility of your words. If you have a big following then what you say must be true. This is definitely more catered towards to the youth. If you are older you should know better, but we all fall victim to this sometimes. Social media has made sharing information much easier. We have confirmation bias, meaning if something lines up with our already established beliefs, then surely it must be true. We naturally seek this out. Fake news is appealing, it usually strikes a deep chord within, which is why it can spread so rapidly. We lose sight of what's real and what's not, the credentials of who is speaking.

Will Social Media Become A Thing Of The Past?

Only time will tell if social media will be here to stay. Or will it ultimately be ruled out just like cigarettes? There was a time where doctors believed by prescribing cigarettes to a pregnant woman, it can benefit her health and stress levels. You would board a plane and be sitting in the non-smoking section, only to realize that the seats directly in front of you were the smoking section. Now smokers have been banned to the dark small corners of the planet. What once was totally socially acceptable now has become unacceptable. Will this be social media as well? We will see, we will see.

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