Listen, there’s no doubt that at the center of social media there is always the same question: But is it healthy for me?
And honestly, it may not be. But, for some, it can be! You are the only person who knows the inner workings of your mind and your limits. For some, social media just isn’t in the cards and that’s totally understandable! It can be a breeding ground for negative energy, but the magic of social media is that sometimes extremely beautiful things come from it.
To help you better understand the pros and cons of social media when it comes to your mental health, we put on our investigative hats and did our research! We compiled a list of the good and the bad of social media to give you a better outlook on one of our most important tools in modern society.
social media PROS:
We love social media because it is all about connecting with people. On a personal level, we can’t go without having relationships with others. And MySpace and Facebook were the first to really show us what it is like to connect and build friendships with people all around the world. Whether it be to stay in touch with family members who are across the country or supporting your Internet bestie, staying in contact with people is the greatest asset of social media.
On most social media outlets, you have the ability to post content in which you will share with others. Being able to have a digital form of self-expression is the reason why Instagram blew up. We can post about anything and everything (for the most part) and let the world see our creative minds before their very eyes. We can make our profiles beautiful and document times in our lives to share. We can make things however we find attractive and allow the rest of our following to enjoy it with us.
Many people look over the fact that social media has helped countless users become comfortable in their self-identity. This means that although a person may be shy and timid in person, they feel more alive and free to be themselves online. They are able to find a tribe who love and identify alongside them, bringing them into a community of positive understanding. Not only is a community a large part in this, but being able to follow individuals who are pillars in their respective communities bring encouragement and hopes of victory for those just now finding themselves.
To be completely honest, there would be no Girlcrush, (or InstaCrush for that matter!), if it weren’t for social media. Booming in the recent years, Instagram is especially to thank that online businesses are becoming a common way to go about careers. Working from home has never been more accessible, especially if you have a family and other high priorities going on in life. And it’s always a great option for those who’s anxiety or mental health prevent them from working in a corporate environment. (Hi, we’re raising our hands over here!)
Overall: Social media can be beneficial in enhancing a user’s mental health and/or happiness. In a recent study conducted by Drexel University, they studied the responses of 800 photos with the tag #depression. They found that although they found both negative and positive comments on these posts, the positive overwhelmingly surpassed the negative. This is because people tend to find their own tribe on social media and when that happens, the followers empathize and create an environment where people can wholeheartedly be themselves while having a family-like group surrounding them with upliftment. Social media communities will also make aware of mental health issues by doing campaigns or using hashtags to give others the platform to express their own stories and give their opinions.
Social Media CONS:
A large population of children now have experienced either first-hand or know someone who has been a part of online bullying or harassment. It has never been easier to be a bully because now you don’t even have to face the person - you just need a keyboard and a profile. People can and will write hateful things just because they feel like - they could have no agenda with you whatsoever. Take a look at the newlywed Bieber’s. Hailey has hundreds (if not thousands) of Instagram profiles dedicated to just hating her because she’s married to Justin. Hatred and harassment aren’t excluded to anyone online.
Just because you weren’t given the chance to deny an invite to go out with friends just to stay home, doesn’t mean you want it showing up all over your feed. The fear of missing out or FOMO is perpetuated in social media culture. When we have Instagram as an online public diary, we post about the events going on in our lives to share them with our followers. However, it has the potential to show all the fun things your friends are doing that are happening without you. It gives a sense of rejection, isolation, and sometimes a dangerously competitive nature.
When all of your friends and the celebrities you follow are all posting about the latest outfits they purchased or how their on their way to Bali, it’s hard not to think, “Why can’t that be me?” Comparison issues arise when your feed is looking like a “who’s who” of Millennial influencers. Here’s a fun little tip, more times than not, these people return the outfits immediately after taking their pictures and their trips probably aren’t nearly as fun as they’re making it seem. We have both lived in New York City, do you think we’re posting about the pile of vomit in the subway train? No! Just keep that in mind!
Between all of these issues, social media has now become an addiction in our generation. It has gone so far in not only being a mental health issue, but a physical health one, too. People are now going through sleep deprivation because they are staying up, consumed by what their friends are doing or comparing themselves to strangers on the Internet. The addiction comes from needing or wanting that little buzz of a notification to tell you that someone is looking and liking your stuff. And when that happens once, you can’t help but need it happen again, and again, and again…
Overall: Social media can be a really hard place to navigate through all the crap sometimes. When it comes to wanting more likes and comments and views, sometimes people pull extremes to get all of that and more. Between people harassing one another and showing off lives that they don’t really live, it is difficult to decipher what is fake and what is reality.
Obviously, we love social media. The whole business is wrapped around and marketed all through social media! Everyday in our community, we see beautiful women living their best lives, starting businesses, and growing families with joy and smile on their faces. But like anything else in this world, it comes with its ugly side, too. Just like you, we try our best to perpetuate a positive, uplifting culture for our boss babes to thrive in. And that is all we can ask of one another on social media, no matter what your differing opinions are. If we all try a little more each day to be kinder and say sweeter words, then maybe we can all break the stigma of social media being bad for one’s mental health.