First and foremost, frequent social media use often leaves people feeling insecure about themselves and their lives.
People are constantly refreshing their social media feeds for the latest updates from friends and family, and this is often driven by a phenomenon known as ‘FoMO’ or ‘Fear of Missing Out’. ‘FoMO’ is defined as “the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out – that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you” (Barker, 2016, para. 2). For example, a group of grade eleven students from Haggerston high school participated in a study in which they had to stop using all forms of social media for one week. This included texting, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and several other social media platforms (BBC News, 2017, para. 2-3). Sheveen, a boy who took part in the study, reported that “…as we shut off our devices, I already felt as if I had lost a limb…” (BBC News, 2017.
Para. 7). Sheveen further stated: “The thought of all the messages coming through at the weekend, and plans that I wanted to know about, made me worry about what I was missing out on. It all weighed down on me. It was too much. I broke.
” (BBC News, 2017. Para. 13)Social media also generates low self-worth as many people fall into the habit of comparing their physical appearances with the unrealistic ones that social media has portrayed as ‘perfect’ or beautiful. This often makes individuals feel as though their bodies aren’t good enough. For example, Clarissa Silva, a writer for Huffington Post, argues that social media has a negative influence on people’s self-esteem.
Silva conducted interviews with a group of social media users aged 28-73, and found that 60% stated that using social media has only lowered their self-esteem (Silvia, 2017. Para. 2). People who develop low self-worth as a result of frequent social media use are more likely to suffer from depression. According to a study, one in five people say they feel depressed because of social media (Street-Porter, 2017.
Para.1). This is only one way in which social media negatively impacts one’s well-being.