Social media has become basic in our daily lives in today’s modern life. It allows us to connect with friends and family, stay updated about current events, and share our beliefs and experiences with the world.

However, growing evidence suggests that social media can significantly impact our self-esteem and mental well-being.

This article will explore the statistics and research illuminating the relationship between social media use and self-esteem. From the pressure to present a curated “perfect” version of ourselves online to the constant comparison with others, we will explore how social media can share feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.

By examining the data and anecdotes surrounding this issue, we aim to illuminate how social media affects our self-esteem and offer strategies for cultivating a healthier relationship with these platforms. 

The Relationship Between Social Media and Self-Esteem

With the widespread use of social media platforms, individuals are constantly exposed to various forms of content that can influence their self-esteem. The relationship between social media and self-esteem has been a topic of interest, with studies showing the impact of social media on individuals’ perceptions of themselves. One way social media can affect self-esteem is by comparing oneself to others. Social media platforms are full of fake posts, often presenting idealised versions of people’s lives. This can lead individuals to compare themselves to others and feel inadequate if they perceive themselves as not measuring up. This constant comparison can negatively affect self-esteem and lead to insecurity and self-doubt.

The quest for validation and approval on social media can also influence self-esteem. Likes, comments, and shares on posts can act as a form of validation for individuals, leading them to seek external validation to feel good about themselves. However, this external validation often leads to a reliance on others for self-worth, which can be detrimental to one’s self-esteem in the long run.

Furthermore, the constant exposure to idealised beauty standards and lifestyles on social media can also impact individuals’ perceptions of themselves. Seeing a steady stream of flawless images and perfectly presented lives can create unrealistic expectations and make individuals dissatisfied with their appearance and achievements.

It is essential for individuals to be mindful of the impact of social media on their self-esteem and to take steps to protect their mental well-being. This may include limiting their time on social media, curating their feeds to follow accounts that promote positive messages, and practising self-care and self-compassion. By being aware of the adverse effects of social media on self-esteem, individuals can better navigate these platforms and prioritise their mental health and well-being. 

Impact of Social Media on Self-Esteem

Social media usage has positive and adverse effects on self-esteem. While it can give a platform for self-expression and connection, it also exposes users to unrealistic standards and comparisons that can impact their self-worth. On one hand, social media allows individuals to express their thoughts, accomplishments, and creativity with a broad audience. This can boost self-esteem through validation and positive feedback from friends and followers. Social media platforms also serve as a way to connect with like-minded individuals and form groups based on shared interests, providing a sense of belonging and support.

However, social media is also a breeding ground for comparison and self-doubt. Users often showcase their highlight reel, presenting an idealised version of their lives that may not be authentic. This constant exposure to curated, flawless images can result in feelings of lack and low self-esteem as individuals compare themselves to unrealistic beauty standards or seemingly perfect lifestyles.

Furthermore, the pressure to gain likes, followers, and engagement on social media can result in a distorted sense of self-worth based on external validation. This can result in a constant need for approval and validation from others rather than finding self-worth from within.

To mitigate social media’s negative effects on self-esteem, individuals must practice self-awareness and cultivate a healthy relationship with social media. This includes being mindful of consumed content, limiting comparison, and prioritising real-life connections and activities contributing to genuine self-esteem and well-being. 

Effects of Social Media Use on Self-Esteem

The constant use of social media can let individuals compare themselves to others on social media feeds, potentially causing them to feel inadequate or insecure. This continuous comparison can lower their self-esteem and overall wellbeing. Additionally, the curated and often unrealistic portrayal of others’ lives on social media can produce a distorted reality sensitivity for individuals, leading to scarcity and dissatisfaction with their lives. This can further contribute to a negative self-image and increase feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Moreover, the pressure to present a perfect image on social media can create anxiety and stress for individuals, as they constantly feel the need to be validated and approved by others online. This can result in a constant need for validation and approval from others, which can be damaging to one’s mental health and self-worth.

Ultimately, the constant comparison and pressure that social media can create can have a detrimental impact on individuals’ mental health and wellbeing. It is essential for individuals to be aware of the adverse effects of excessive social media use and to prioritise self-care and self-compassion to keep a healthy relationship with social media and themselves. 

Social Comparison Theory and Self-Esteem

Social comparison theory says that individuals determine their social and personal worth based on how they stack up against others. When individuals constantly compare themselves to others on social media, it can significantly impact their self-esteem, leading to feelings of inadequacy or inferiority. This constant comparison can also lead to jealousy, envy, and resentment towards others who appear to be doing better or have what they perceive as a better life. It can create a never-ending cycle of comparing oneself to others and constantly seeking validation and approval from others.

Furthermore, social media often only shows the highlight reels of people’s lives, presenting a distorted view of reality. This can lead individuals to believe that everyone else is living a perfect life while struggling, further fueling feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

To combat the adverse effects of social comparison on self-esteem, individuals need to limit their time on social media, practice self-compassion, focus on their own goals and achievements, and practice gratitude for what they have rather than focusing on what they lack. Building a solid support system of friends and family who provide positive reinforcement and encouragement can also help counteract the negative impact of social media comparison on self-esteem. 

Impact of Social Media on Body Shape and Self-Esteem

Social media can have various effects on body image and self-esteem, both positive and negative.

Positive effects:

  • Social media can provide a platform for individuals to connect with others with similar body types or self-esteem issues, creating a sense of community and support.
  • It can inspire and motivate individuals to adopt healthy lifestyle habits and improve their self-esteem.
  • Social media can also serve as a platform for individuals to share their journeys with body image and self-esteem, helping to reduce stigma and create a more positive and accepting environment.

Negative effects:

  • Social media often portrays idealised and unrealistic standards of beauty, leading individuals to compare themselves to these standards and feel inadequate or insecure about their bodies.
  • The constant exposure to images of flawless bodies and filtered selfies can contribute to feelings of low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction.
  • Social media platforms are also often filled with negative comments and hate speech directed towards individuals based on their appearance, which can further damage self-esteem and body image.

Understanding Social Media Addiction and its Impact on Self-Esteem 

Social media addiction is a term used to show excessive use of social media platforms that interferes with daily life and may have adverse effects on mental health. Individuals addicted to social media often feel compelled to constantly check their accounts, post updates, and seek validation through likes and comments.

One of the significant impacts of social media addiction is on self-esteem. Comparing with others on social media can develop feelings of scarcity and low self-worth. Seeing posts of others with seemingly perfect lives, relationships, and accomplishments can make individuals feel like they are not measuring up. This can create a cycle of seeking approval through likes and comments and feeling worse when that validation is not received.

Furthermore, the curated nature of social media can also contribute to low self-esteem. People post only the best aspects of their lives on social media, producing a distorted view of reality. This can make individuals feel like they are not as successful, attractive, or happy as their peers, leading to feelings of inadequacy.

In addition to impacting self-esteem, social media addiction can also have other adverse effects on mental health, such as increased anxiety, depression, and reduced attention span. It can also result in loneliness and isolation, as individuals may spend more time scrolling through their social media feeds than engaging in real-life social interactions.

To combat social media addiction and its impact on self-esteem, it is important to practice mindfulness and self-awareness when using social media. Limiting screen time, unfollowing accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, and focusing on real-life relationships and activities can help improve self-esteem and mental wellbeing. Seeking professional help and support if needed is also essential in managing social media addiction and its effects on self-esteem. 

Social Media Self-Esteem Statistics

  1. A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology mentioned that limiting social media use to half an hour daily can significantly reduce depression and loneliness.
  2. A survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health found that Instagram ranked as the most dangerous social media platform for mental health and wellbeing, with adverse effects on body image, sleep, and FOMO (fear of missing out).
  3. Research by the American Psychological Association has shown that social media usage is linked with high levels of fear and low self-esteem.
  4. A study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that individuals spending more time on social media platforms are likelier to compare themselves to others and experience lower self-esteem.
  5. Based on a survey conducted by the Dove Self-Esteem Project, 60% of girls and 41% of boys feel pressure to look a certain way because of social media.
  6. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that social media use is linked to an increased risk of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders among young adults.
  7. Research by the University of Pennsylvania stated that participants who restricted their social media use to 30 minutes daily reported significant decreases in loneliness and depression.
  8. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that individuals who edited their photos before posting them on social media experienced lower self-esteem and body satisfaction.
  9. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 55% of teenagers say they feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available on social media.
  10. Research published in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media found that individuals who receive many likes and comments on their posts may experience a temporary boost in self-esteem, but this effect is short-lived. 


The effect of social media on self-esteem is a significant concern that cannot be ignored. The statistics show a correlation between social media use and self-esteem issues, particularly among young people. As social media plays a central role in our daily lives, it is important to be aware of its potential adverse effects on our mental health and wellbeing. Individuals must balance their social media use and prioritise self-care practices to maintain healthy self-esteem.

Ultimately, we must be mindful of how we engage with social media and take proactive steps to protect our self-worth and mental health in the digital age. 

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