If you are currently reading this, then you probably have some form of social media account yourself. Social media has grown exponentially over probably the last 10 years, and I am assuming this will only continue as time progresses. While I do believe that social media and the internet does have its perks, don't get me wrong, but I definitely am convinced that social media itself has several negative impacts on people, especially millennials.
One negative aspect I would like to focus on is how social media affects people's mental health and wellbeing. You might think that I am crazy, but as a psychology major back in college, I have done research on social media and how it can drastically influence college students' self-esteem.
Let's use Instagram as an example. You find yourself scrolling through your feed and notice all of these people with what looks to be flawless skin, perfectly toned bodies, a bunch of friends living a vacation life, and a ton of followers. This is where the social comparisons come into play. You start to compare yourself to all of those people and how you wish you looked like them or lived their life, which negatively impacts your overall self-esteem and mental health.
This is why so many people, both millennials and not, are diagnosed with mental health disorders now more than ever. Of course, Instagram is a fun app that many people use to just express themselves and show a little peek into their lives, but for some people, it can be a negative experience.
Not only can social media have negative effects on self-esteem as a whole, but it can also lead to a lack of communication skills amongst millennials. Everywhere you look, you probably see people looking down at their phones, walking, and texting. Does anyone even know how to pick up a phone anymore to call someone? It definitely doesn't seem like it to me.
We tend to be so engrossed in the technology, which can be great, but a downside is that it impedes our face-to-face communication. Everyone is so used to texting, tweeting, Snapchatting, and Facebooking that talking in person seems obsolete. It's kind of scary if you really think about it because you can't perceive the other person's facial expressions or nonverbal cues, so it makes talking even more difficult.
The more and more I read about this kind of stuff relating to social media definitely changes my perspective on it and makes me want to use it less and less. Going out and living your life without having your phone attached to you 24/7 is such a fulfilling feeling and you truly get to enjoy moments more when you aren't so locked in with the online world.
In the end, social media definitely has its breakthroughs and setbacks. However, it is primarily up to each individual to decide how we perceive social media and what we let either positively or negatively affect us and our lives. A little piece of advice that I can give to you is to always remember that the number of likes you get on a picture, or the number of followers you have does not define you as a person and should never define your worth either. Also, try to make more of an effort to start conversations with people in person or on the phone rather than texting them. You may be surprised with the outcome.