Skip to main content

Exposed: Friend or Foe, the Hidden Dangers of Social Media on Your Mental Health!

By May 1, 2023Blog

Discover the Real Impact of Social Media on Our Minds, and How to Build a Toxic-Free Social Feed

Social media has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives, making it nearly impossible to escape its reach. We connect with friends, buy and sell products, stay updated on the latest news, and share our experiences with the world. But there’s a dark side to social media. The cost? Our Mental Health.  

In this blog post, we’ll expose the hidden dangers of social media on mental health, delve into toxic online culture, and share valuable resources from Give an Hour for cultivating a healthier, happier social feed. 

Social Media: A Fabricated Reality 

The benefits of social media are undeniable – staying connected, endless entertainment, and a platform for self-expression. But lurking beneath the surface lies a sinister side to our digital obsession. 

A study by the Pew Research Center reveals that in 2021, approximately 84% of US adults aged 18-29 used social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok daily. However, the unrealistic portrayal of lives on social media can lead to negative self-comparison, as users often present a carefully crafted positive image of themselves. One major issue with the rapid ascent of influencers, particularly on Instagram, is the creation of a community network that lures people into observing their lifestyles and appearances. The constant sharing of travel photos, luxury designer items, and fashionable outfits conveys the notion that being “popular” requires adhering to a specific lifestyle and aesthetic.  

Recently, influencers have faced backlash for alleged deceptive advertising practices, like TikTok beauty guru Mikayla Nogueira, who was embroiled in the “Mascaragate” scandal, accused of using false lashes in a misleading sponsored post. Nogueira both contributed to and fell victim to toxic social media culture, having previously utilized her platform to champion mental health she has often needed to step away and take breaks from social media to safeguard her well-being. Mascaragate was concerning in multiple ways, as it established a blueprint for successful brand exposure that thrived on controversy. With millions of views and sales generated by the scandal, we risk normalizing toxic online practices. As an increasing number of individuals seek exposure, we must ask, “How far are we willing to go for a moment in the spotlight?” and consider the impact on impressionable young viewers. 

Astonishingly, Mental Health America reports that 45% of US adults feel worried or stressed by social media. This stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, while also triggering FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) as we compare our lives to others’ highlight reels; highly glamorized content, curated ‘picture perfect’ social feeds, and sometimes intentionally misleading information. 

Toxic Online Culture: From Celeb Drama to Cyberbullying 

The recent Selena Gomez drama, allegedly involving Kylie Jenner and Hailey Bieber, perfectly illustrates the dangers of toxic online culture. As the story spiraled out of control, it became clear that social media users and the media play a significant role in amplifying and sensationalizing disputes. This vicious cycle of negativity fuels cyberbullying and wreaks havoc on mental health. 

Both Gomez and Ed Sheeran have been vocal about their struggles with social media, taking breaks to prioritize their mental health. Their actions highlight the importance of setting boundaries in the digital realm. Ed Sheeran once revealed in an interview with The Sun that he quit social media for a year due to its impact on his mental health, saying, “I was seeing the world through a screen and not my eyes.” 

Give an Hour’s Solution: Combatting Toxic Positivity & Social Media Pitfalls 

Toxic positivity – the act of sharing only the positive aspects of one’s life – is a major contributor to social media’s negative impact on mental health. Give an Hour has developed a one-pager to help you fight toxic positivity and create a healthier online environment. DOWNLOAD this one-pager and other crucial resources here. 

Mastering Mindful Social Media Consumption 

Recognizing the importance of mindful social media consumption is crucial in regaining control over our online experiences and mental well-being. Follow these tips for mindful social media consumption: 

  1. Set Time Limits: Avoid excessive scrolling and designate specific times for social media use to prevent it from consuming your day and sleep. 
  2. Stay Emotionally Aware: Monitor how content affects your emotions and unfollow or mute accounts that consistently trigger negativity. 
  3. Practice Gratitude: Focus on the positives in your life instead of comparing yourself to others, fostering a healthier mindset. 
  4. Engage in Offline Activities: Balance your online and offline lives by spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, and exercising. 
  5. Seek Support: Reach out to mental health professionals or trusted friends if social media negatively impacts your well-being. 
  6. Take a Break: Embrace occasional social media blackouts without feeling obligated to post. Your channel will survive! 

Adopting these mindful practices allows you to enjoy the benefits of social media while minimizing its potential harm to your mental health. 

Social Media: A Journey to Wellness 

Understanding and addressing the potential risks of social media is crucial for our mental well-being. As we learn to navigate the digital landscape, it’s essential to implement practical strategies and utilize resources like those from Give an Hour. By doing so, we can embrace the positive aspects of social media, minimize its dangers, and journey towards a more balanced and fulfilling online life. 

So, let’s take charge of our digital destinies and embark on this journey to wellness together. Remember, a healthier, happier online experience is just a few clicks away!