There is a lot of pressure on Millennials these days, and while most of it can be taken as an advantage to become innovators for our future, much of it can be harmful for our health when we are constantly looking into the lives of everyone and comparing it to our own. This is most prevalent in social media where we can filter, edit and glamorize anything we want but most often our lifestyles
“The way people tend to conceal their negative emotions while broadcasting their happy ones makes the rest of us feel somehow “less than.””
While we’ve been using social media as a way to promote our health organizations, we cannot neglect the fact that a majority of users aren’t taking away what they should. It is difficult to log on to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. and only log off with the intent to do whatever it is our health organizations are urging when there are so many distractions. Unfortunately, these distractions lead to some unhealthy habits such as developing harmful body image and self-esteem to even sparking addictions that will negatively effect social relationships.
How is one to put their energy into starting a journey of loving their body when these pages are filled with unrealistic images of young girls, promoting #thighgap and Pinterest boards named ‘Thinspiration’. Unfortunately, the pages we use everyday are becoming harmful for our health and even sparking addiction.
According to the head youth outreach for the National Eating Disorder Association Claire Mysko, social media has ‘changed the game‘ for how we’re treating diet and exercise and its both strenuous and competitive because now we have access to what thousands of people are doing to achieve a “perfect” body that media has put such an emphasis on. Pinterest personally has been the biggest influence for pushing eating disorders.
In a study reported by Medical News Today, while social media platforms such as Facebook may satisfy the basic need for human connection, it often leaves those looking in feeling invaluable, anxious, depressed and even addicted- and its almost becoming habitual to thrive off what we get (Likes, comments, re-posts) and even what we don’t. According to an article from Time Magazine, a Stanford study found “that the way people tend to conceal their negative emotions while broadcasting their happy ones makes the rest of us feel somehow “less than”. Then there’s a point where even if the people that resist the allure of social media, they still sometimes can’t escape the effects of cyber bullying which can damage self-esteem.
Check out this video Em Ford bravely posted to raise awareness on the effects of social media:
Turning the Addiction
We’ve all been there- when we first take our cursor to the address bar and it seems almost subconscious that our fingers automatically go for the ‘Fa’, given that 60% of American Facebook users use Facebook daily according to Medical News Today. When logging on to social media is an everyday habit, it can feel like some type of technology withdrawal when the privilege of having access to these platforms is unavailable or sadly, should be put away when in a social environment.
One may think that addiction is a strong word to associate with social media. And it is, but we’ve made it all too real. It is time to take the pressure our generation has and turn it into something progressive (don’t panic, we can incorporate our social media pages BUT in a positive way) by changing the way we use all of this technology that has-both fortunately and unfortunately- landed in our laps within the past decade.
If we’ve learned anything throughout this journey of using social media to benefit health organizations, it is that changing behaviors and ways of thinking is one of the hardest parts. But we also know it is a very pivotal step. As social media users, thinking can sometimes be the last thing we’re doing when we’re zoned in on our smart phones (see last blog on ethics) and it’s time we start.
*If you are feeling any of the above side effects from social media please seek help*