Exploring the Harm in Social Media: “Do you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”

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“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings as opposed to your own” (Harold Coffin). When using social networking sites, we are surrounded by individuals and companies who are telling us consciously and subconsciously that we need to be someone we are not. As a society, we’re always told to believe certain things, buy a “life-changing” object, and fit the mold of what’s presented to us. I personally believe that the representation of different bodies online is not at all what they should be. We are taught from a young age that we must grow up to be attractive and that who we are right now is not good enough to meet the social standards that we are presented with. Some people believe that if they do not meet these standards, they are not good enough for society. A percentage of people believe that taking a diet pill, changing their personality, or using a certain product will make them a more attractive person and they will also be more accepted by this molded society. “​There has been a growing concern over the past number of​ ​decades regarding the link between social media use and ​psychological state​ ​issues. Although research findings identify a connection between increased social media use ​within the young adult population and increased ​mental health ​problems ​within the​ same population, ​ ​it is unclear how social media use ​could also be​ ​related to​ ​these changes” (Strickland). ​Do you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?


“The use of the internet for social media use has become a global phenomenon, as the number of social network users worldwide increased from 2.3 billion in 2016 to around 2.6 billion in 2018. This means that nearly half (45%) of the entire population uses a social networking service. Usage is especially high among adolescents, with 92% of United States adolescents reporting daily social media use, and 24% of those teens stating that they go online almost constantly” (​Tadena, Kang, & Kim​). ​I think the children who use social media in the past are becoming more insecure than others. The Internet is an incredibly potent tool. For example, posts on these sites can go viral in a matter of minutes and can reach millions of people. This world has evolved very rapidly into online life, and the powerful web has some negative aspects to it. “More than 80 % of 18–29-year-olds in the U.S. are wireless Internet users, and 72 % of the online 18–29-year-old cohort uses social networking sites” (Pew Research Center). This statistic portrays how widely these issues affect the young adult population. Because of these high statistics and the number of young women who are affected by these ads, negative body image has become such a normal habit in today’s society. 


The effect that social media has on young people may not seem like much of a serious problem, but it may be the underlying source of many events that happen in society. I chose to cover this topic because I, unfortunately, know the feeling of not being “good enough” compared to what I see on social media. Growing up without a cell phone until I was about 14 was the greatest thing I could have asked for. Before I had the world at my fingertips, I never compared what I looked like to others. In today’s society, social media has obviously taken over most aspects of our lives. Watching my younger sister grow up and judge her body at age 14, compared to how I thought of my body at that time, really makes me sad. The way we are thrown into a world of what is right to look at and what is not is completely unfathomable. Most people overlook what social media is doing to their mental health, whether it is being attached to a screen too much, becoming envious of others, or even losing face-to-face social skills. I interviewed my sister Kaiden, and my 21-year-old friend Sydney, so I could get their input on how social media has affected them. When I  asked my sister how social media has changed the way she perceives herself, it took her a minute to open up. “Seeing Instagram models, or people way prettier than the average person on a screen all day really does not make me feel good about myself. I wish there was more acceptance of everyone’s body on social sites so that young girls would not feel the way that we do.” Sydney seemed to quickly agree to my points stated above. “Every day we are told to buy the new “best thing” hoping that it will make us look like the celebrity that endorsed it, we are just being played” she explained. I would completely agree with both points of my interviewees. I for one do not focus enough attention on the media that I consume. If people were a little more observant and wanted better for their mental health, we could come together as a world to diminish the body stigma we are presented with on social media sites. Always remember to take a break, put down the phone, and remember your worth.

I created all of these infographics using Excel and Canva. Every resource for this project is listed below:









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