Social Media: The Real Effect

Right now, 3.26 billion people are members of some sort of social media platform. We use it to talk to our friends, see what everybody’s doing, and keep up on the ridiculous celebrity gossip. Harmless, right? Not exactly. Millions of users on social media are competing on who can get the most likes or who is better than who. Social Media is a serious tool, and its users should use it to have fun, not compare people. Platforms like Instagram depict certain body types as being accepted but not others. Models and influencers flood the pages of young female users and drill into their minds that beauty is all about being scandalous. Not only that, but social media is a catalyst for bullying. Its users can hide behind a screen, anonymous or not, and say whatever they please with no consequences. Social media may seem like fun and games, but it has a serious impact on the young people using it.

Body image is an extremely controversial topic, especially when it comes down to how it’s presented within social media. The “ideal body type” is an unrealistic standard; most of the young girls looking at social media become self conscious because they feel that they don’t measure up to society’s expectations on how women should look. In reality, most of the images on social media have filters, photoshop, and lots of altering before they’re posted. Young girls may depict themselves as unattractive, but most of them don’t realize that almost all the pictures of “perfect” celebrities and glamorous models are faked. Psychological stress piles up in their minds and can lead to depression, anxiety, and negative self image. On the contrary, some accounts are dedicated to self love and body appreciation posts are gradually become more popular.

An alarming 87% of social media users have seen some type of cyberbullying online. Instagram has a cyberbullying rate of 42%, and Snapchat has 31%. Millennials dominate both of these apps. Hateful comments/messages are pretty much normalized, and many people are affected by this every day. Often, the things said on social media would not be said in person. It’s easier to type and send a message, without really taking in the feelings of others. Victims of cyberbullying are often mentally drained and left feeling helpless, because there is not much that they’re able to do about it. 

Social media will always be a powerhouse, and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. As long as they are making money, major companies will probably not acknowledge the pressing issues within their apps. Therefore, it is important to limit time on social media to give your brain a break from all the drama. It is vital to train yourself to think before you post and realize most of the pictures on social media are fabricated. Sometimes it is best that we put phones away because the real world is not on hold.

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