Toxicity of Social Media and How to Save Yourself

Toxicity+of+Social+Media+and+How+to+Save+Yourself

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Leo Lukaszevicz and Brittney Yuen

The addictive nature of social media is not only premeditated by app developers but psychologists as well. The endless feed ensures hours of mindless swiping. Read receipts keep you standing by. The urgent red notification bubbles grab your eye, triggers your brain, and cause you to wonder, “What am I missing out on?” 

It’s no surprise to companies like Instagram and Facebook that Americans spend an average of 5.4 hours on their phones daily, according to TechJury.net. The fear of missing out has been roughly translated to “staying connected” over the years. But what are the true costs of the updates and posts? According to Sciencedirect.com, a study found that compulsive media use significantly triggered social media fatigue, later resulting in elevated anxiety and depression. 

Social Media is filled with facades-modifications of photos by filters or editing, creating a falsehood of expectations. We only see the best and brightest moments people choose to share. When students at Nashoba Regional High School were anonymously asked how they would change social media as a whole, interviews saw a pattern in responses like, “No unrealistic body expectations,” or “Tone it down on the expectations on everyone who isn’t ‘perfect.’” Others have also stated that social media has made them “compare every detail of the way [they] look and [their] life to everyone online and they end up looking down on [themselves]…” 

We tend to associate likes and comments with the value of ourselves.  If we do not get a satisfactory amount of likes, we take the post down. This creates a toxic mindset of self-worth. Chessie King, a London-based model, is using social media platforms, like Instagram, to debunk the standards of the “perfect body” on social media by showing how she looks posing and relaxed. The difference between the photos brings lots of awareness to the false reality of social media. She stated, “no woman should be setting standards for herself based on beauty standards.”

But there are ways we can save ourselves from the negative influence of social media. One major way is to tailor your feed to pure positivity.  Follow those who inspire you. Seeing a role model on your feed can keep you inspired and excited for the future. A high schooler in the anonymous social media survey said, “I like to follow people who have a positive impact on life, or are just positive in general, spreading positivity!”  

Another way is to not apologize for unfollowing. People see unfollowing as a strain on a relationship, but it is quite the opposite. Decluttering your feed to see only what truly makes you smile can make a huge difference. Surround yourself with people who make you feel confident and happy, even away from your phones. Remember to take breaks throughout the day. Try and stay away from the urge to look at your phone in the morning and before bed.