It's finally summer and everyone is going out to their adventurous rendezvous and my Instagram feed is blossoming with beautiful pictures. From beach pictures, vacation pictures, family reunions, graduations, it is a symphony of colors and smiles. However, we never know what is going on behind the scenes of these pictures.
I'm sitting here having FOMO, or "fear of missing out," from forced family pictures and posed vacation posts. But nonetheless, that doesn't stop me from wishing I was a Bahama beach babe instead of a 9-5 working woman-child.
Not to be a buzzkill, but it is actually statistically shown that Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health. Here's why Instagram is ruining our lives.
1. FOMO "Fear Of Missing Out"Giphy
This is a huge problem when we are constantly staring at other people's lives through a single filtered picture. We see people traveling the world and we yearn to do a Tour de France like they did. And then we begin to look negatively at our own lives for not doing enough. Sound familiar? Wallowing in our own self-pity at home, we wish to do more. We feel as though we're missing out on life by comparing ourselves with someone else's extravagant Instagram feed. Eventually, we fall into a trap of the endless scroll of FOMO which brings me to my next point
2. It causes psychological distress/depressionGiphy
This is an extreme that may not relate to everyone. However, many reported to have anxiety and depression while using social media apps like Instagram for more than two hours a day. These mental illnesses develop when we see we are lacking something someone else has. First, is the lack of ambition. We see people doing things that we consider "goals" blah blah and then begin to look down on ourselves for not doing the most with our time. Second, is the lack of having a significant other. This doesn't need to be a boyfriend or girlfriend, it could simply be family or friends. Many people feel like they lack the social connection when we see in images of friend groups or family photos. Ultimately, this leads to individuals feeling lonely and depressed because they are missing something everyone else has.
3. It brings out insecuritiesGiphy
Scrolling through my Insta feed, I constantly compare myself to the beautiful models that I see. And I'm sure this is a common thing that everyone does. We'll be scrolling around and think to ourselves "ugh I wish I had her bod" or "I wish I looked like that." So I'm not going to sit here and preach about how this is only relevant to a few people because I'm sure we're all guilty of this. The solution to this is the most simple, but difficult thing to do. We simply need to stop comparing ourselves to others. However, Instagram has caused us to develop the toxic mentality to compare ourselves to these unrealistically perfect people on our feeds. Pretty difficult to stop when we've become wired to a detrimental mindset.
4. Filters and Photoshop are misleadingGiphy
We're taught to embrace natural beauty. "Be true and be you" etc., etc. Nonsense. The whole idea of looking natural and promoting natural beauty has been long gone. Now that things like Photoshop and all of these editing apps have been created, we see ourselves focusing on how to make the image look as unnatural as possible in the most natural way. And by that, I mean subtle things like a filter or Photoshopping an imperfection is still changing the original image even if it may seem insignificant. This goes along with insecurities because even if we know the image is clearly Photoshopped we still subconsciously think, "Wow, I wish I had clear skin like that." When in reality that image has gone through three filters and two rounds of Facetune to get it "perfect."
5. It causes addictionGiphy
Apps like Instagram can be used for hours on end. I can look on my own feed of people I follow, I can scroll through my endless explore page, I can even stalk social media icons that I'll never see in real life. It creates an addiction that can keep us occupied for as long as we want. We constantly scroll through this app with an empty mind. Half the time I'm even on Instagram I don't even care what I'm looking at as long as it's occupying my time. Instagram is super addicting and it's hard to break out of the scrolling trance, which I, too, suffer with.
Instagram is my most used app, so I'd be a hypocrite if I said I didn't use it because it is the "worst" social media app. If it truly was as treacherous as expressed, no one would be on it. It does have its long list of pros that may level out the cons. However, something you can take out of this is to be cautious of your usage with these apps. Don't get sucked into the social media vortex.