When Social Media Becomes Social Anxiety
Written by WinGate Therapy, in Section Featured Articles
Social media sites have become a dominant aspect of social life, redefined to now include digital communications, particularly among young adults. Through the technological advances of the internet and social media, you can now connect with friends and family members throughout the world almost instantaneously. Superficially, this depicts the innovation of social media as nothing short of a positive tool, with emotionally gratifying potentials. Unfortunately, however, in the hands of young adults/adolescents (who already naturally struggle with self-identity and personal development), social media now possesses an equally strong potential to instill greater social pressures and insecurities in the lives of our loved ones.
Social Media: Overuse
It is no surprise to the average person to hear that young adults, and individuals of all ages really, spend a great deal of time on their devices and on social media sites. According to SocialMediaToday, teenagers spend up to nine hours per day on online social platforms, with only 30% of that time being spent actually interacting with others. This means that 70% of the time, young adults on social media are not communicating with friends or family members, but are instead viewing the lives of others (either through pictures, posts, or tweets).
SocialMediaToday has figured that over the course of a lifetime, the average teenager will spend just shy of 2 years on YouTube, 1 year and 7 months on Facebook, 1 year and 2 months on Snapchat, 8 months on Instagram, and nearly a month on Twitter. Cumulatively, this is an overwhelming amount of time young adults spend evaluating the lives of other people, and unconsciously, comparing their lives to what they see on their screens. Though originally unintended with its design, social media has consequently become a principal cause of social anxiety in young adults everywhere.
Social media has become a platform for young adults to assess their own self-worth or value through likes, shares, retweets, and/or comments. Moreover, the quantity of these indicators of “approval” or “acceptance” are frequently compared to the numbers that other peers receive. This is a flawed arrangement that bases the confidence and self-esteem of young adults on comparison. Regrettably, because this is the pursuit of so many young adults, we find that more time and effort is taken to attempt to project the best image of oneself on social media, even if such an image is inaccurate or staged. See the following video:
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