It’s everywhere, the little screen that dominates our everyday lives. It calls us to consistently update Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and anything else that allows us to showcase our images of perfection. Eager to share every accomplishment, birthday, life event and picture with the world, social media has taken over millions of lives.
Although you can get great information for movies, reviews and news, deciding what to post about a topic, seeing if someone’s tagged you or if that picture flatters you, can all lead to stress. Yes, that little screen on your phone or the laptop on your desk can lead to several different reasons social media stresses you out.
“Keeping up with the Joneses” or comparing yourself to another as a standard for social class or materialistic goods is something we’ve all dealt with. Wanting a perfect image to put out into the world is something that most social media users strive for. Oh, the pressures of looking at every tagged picture and questioning if it flatters or represents you well.
You don’t want that picture of you passed out partying to be seen by your employer, parents or kids either. Being picture perfect on social media is similar to going to your class reunion while everyone speaks about their accomplishments and achievements.
Social media allows for us to know everything about a person before we even meet them. It can also affect the views of potential friends or relationships. Even in a relationship, social media can create drifts with jealousy towards attention online. With making many new Facebook or Twitter privacy settings while in a newly developed relationship can raise suspicion of cheating.
According to a study in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, people who use Facebook more than once a day are more likely to report conflicts arising from social media and had a significant correlation with outcomes of cheating, breaking up or getting divorced.
Relationships are one thing. Breaking up is a whole different story. The stress and heartache of a breakup is hard enough, you don’t need to make it worse on social media. Breakups can linger and you might find yourself stressing over what your ex might be up to. Stalking doesn’t involve a trench coat and sunglasses anymore, social media made it easier. But, save yourself the headache and delete, delete, delete.
Everyone’s a critic and behind a keyboard, a fury of opinions can dominate. The snowball of negativity can get bigger than the post and have worse outcomes. Scientists from the American Psychological Association say cyberbullying can cause intense stress that may be worse than being harassed in person! Schools especially have taken precautions to cyber bullying because of the many unfortunate effects that have led to suicide.
It happens quite often; you’re scrolling through Facebook while at work and see your friend at a beautiful location while relaxing under the sun. It’s hard not to feel envious. Research from Utah Valley University found that the longer time is spent on Facebook, the more we start believing everyone else lives better than we do.
There was a time before the dinosaurs where we didn’t have social media. And while many of us can’t seem to unplug, we have to remember that social media should be used for sharing, not comparing. It can be a great tool for information and keeping in touch, but remember to take time for yourself. Even if it’s only for a couple of hours, take time to recharge and care of your mental well-being.