Social media is slowly killing your self-esteem

Photo courtesy of vimeo user Eric Knorpp
Jenner deactivated her popular Instagram account because of her growing dependence on the app.

Kate O’Hagan, Tempo Editor, and Georgi Presecky, Editor-in-Chief


Model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner deactivated her Instagram account in November, and it drew national attention.

We aren’t kidding.

Jenner is one of many people who feel the need to take social media “detoxes,” stepping away from apps that have most of us glued to our phones. As a result, we’ve become way too invested in the lives and postings of not only celebrities, but also our own peers.

Like most of us, Jenner was “always on it,” as she told Ellen Degeneres. “I would wake up in the morning and look at it first thing. I would go to bed and it was the last thing I would look at it. I felt a little too dependent on it.”

According to a research study conducted at the University of Albany in 2015, social media is not only addictive, but is also linked to other impulse control disorders like substance abuse.

Because of its addictive tendencies and the resulting constant comparisons to our peers, social media is not only taking a negative toll on society, but on our collective self-esteem as well.

“Online social approval and validation can have direct implications on adolescents’ sense of self-worth, identity and confidence,” according to a Huffington Post article on adolescent social media use.

Each social media platform holds a highlight reel of our life. People choose what they put out for the world to see, and forget about that when looking at others’ profiles. All we see is the super cool vacation we can’t afford or all the friends we don’t have at each given moment.

We use social media in a calculated way to make us all look cool and have killer aesthetics on our Instagram.

“I don’t think social media is the problem, I think it’s how people use it,” said junior computer science major Chris Ludes. “It’s supposed to be meant for connecting with people, why does connecting have to turn to comparing?”

If someone posted the real every day footage of their life – no one would think they’re all that cool anymore. Sure, there are daily vloggers out there, but those are planned and edited as well.

People only show what they want you to know.

No one wants the world to know that they were changing diapers all day to make enough money to buy school books, especially when all they see is the Instagram posts of people doing fun, exciting things.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is a real thing.

“I feel like I’m not good enough when my friends are out and posting about it on social media,” said junior business administration major Sarah Wieczorek. “I know they don’t mean to hurt my feelings or leave me out of plans, but it just makes me rethink sometimes.”

We never want to be the one to not get the joke.

We want to feel included, and social media doesn’t help us feel included when we see everyone hanging out without us.

We want to be at the party. We want everyone to think we are cool for being at the party. We want to post about being at the party.

We want people to like that we are at the party.

Our generation wants likes – it’s as simple as that.

We seek social validation through people who favorite our funny tweets, like our selfies or comment on our statuses – this is the new way we seek approval, and for many, that number is never quite high enough.

For Jenner, who once had the most-liked photo ever on Instagram, quitting was the solution.

For those who feel like they can’t quit, just take a break.

Look up from the phone. Resist the urge to send that cryptic angry tweet – text it to a friend instead.

Write it in a journal. Find a way to generate “likes” in real life, without having to validate your thoughts, ideas or memories through a smartphone.

Kate O’Hagan is a senior public relations/advertising major. This is her first year as tempo editor for The Flyer after being a frequent contributor last year. She has very simple dreams of writing with Shonda Rhimes, eating ice cream with Joe Biden and scaring people with Ellen DeGeneres.

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