As social media sites continue to evolve, they become increasingly engaging and captivating for users of different ages. Using social platforms was once for the main purpose of getting people closer and communicating. Yet, the plan has somehow backfired; while people are now glued to their phones, they’ve become more distant and isolated.
The constant usage of the internet has paved the way for numerous mental disorders to develop, leading to a new concept known as social media comparison. This new notion has evolved for the constant interactivity across social platforms, opening doors for more social comparison and the fear of missing out.
Deprived mental health, heightened anxiety, low self-esteem, distorted body image, and the emergence of eating disorders are just a few examples of the consequences of social media comparison. Interestingly, it is worth noting that the rise in teenage smartphone and social media usage coincides with a worsening trend in body image issues among young individuals. While these might seem unrelated, the correlation is certainly worth exploring further.
Surprisingly, even a brief encounter with social media has the tendency to trigger social comparison, with individuals, especially younger generations, experiencing lower self-evaluations when exposed to profiles of people who seem to have healthier or more successful lives.
Negative Impact of Social Media Comparison on One’s Mental Health
Of course, mental health issues have always been around, yet they were noticed to be more common among younger generations with the rapid advancements in technology and social media. There is compelling evidence suggesting that frequent engagement in unfavourable social media comparisons plays a significant role in the rise of depression and anxiety.
The allure of garnering likes and followers leads individuals to fabricate a false perception of their life on social media, causing their real-life shortcomings and challenges to feel even more overwhelming. Constant comparison on social media has negatively affected the lives of many in more than one way:
1. Low Self-Esteem and Poor Body Image
Developing proper self-esteem is a crucial part of someone’s identity and sense of value, especially during the adolescent phase. One of the main negative impacts of social media comparison is experiencing low self-esteem and poor body image. This results from the idealised standards of beauty that are always promoted among men and women.
Being constantly exposed to filtered images of people on social media can leave one feeling vulnerable and unsatisfied. This is even truer when it comes to the growing rise of cyberbullying, which often include body shaming and hateful language.
2. Experiencing Depressive Episodes
Numerous factors actually contribute to depression and feeling down, and social media plays a vital role in feeding those factors. The damaging notion of social media comparison has only increased the rates of depression and worsened the symptoms further.
This is especially true for those who are addicted to social media, spending over 5 hours every day surfing the web and scrolling through the newsfeed. Several studies have also claimed that heavy users of social media are more prone to a lower sense of self and may experience suicidal thoughts as a result of severe depression.
3. Developing Eating Disorders
Eating disorders and poor eating habits have always been around due to the idealised beauty standards several generations were exposed to on TV. Social media comparison has only come along to manifest the era of diet craziness. While it isn’t directly related to the development of eating disorders, it does contribute to negatively affecting one’s body image.
Eating disorders have always been the result of not being satisfied with your body as long as it doesn’t fit the typical standards of beauty. It’s essential to learn that all body types are beautiful and accepted, and the perfection we see on social platforms is often edited and distorted.
Statistics on Average Usage of Social Media Platforms
Today, numerous social media platforms compete to capture the attention of users. The fear of missing out has contributed to the addictive users travelling from one platform to another to keep up with all the crazy trends and endless breaking news. We’ve brought you some statistics on how much people use different social media applications.
As we dissect the leading platforms, the rise of social media comparison will start to make sense, given the significant number of active users. Brace yourself for an enlightening journey through our comprehensive social media comparison infographic.
Groups Who Are More Affected by Social Media Comparison
Social media users are men and women from all over the world of different ages and numerous backgrounds. So, it’s easy to guess that most of those users are affected negatively by social media comparison, yet some groups are more affected than others.
The younger generations were reported to be the ones most engaging in social media comparison, especially teenagers from 13 to 18 years and even young adults aged 19 to 25. It’s expected that since these generations have never known a world where technology wasn’t dominating, they’re heavier users of the platforms, engaging more in new trends and, consequently, being more vulnerable to the negative impacts.
Recent studies have also stated that women are more prone to being negatively affected by social media comparison than men. Statistics whop that 90% of women tend to engage in social comparison, while only 65% of their male counterparts do. While the percentage of women is definitely higher, the two genders still highly engage in that disturbing notion. Nearly 40% of these people have a negative perception of themselves as a result of comparisons.
Statistical Analysis of Active Users On Each Platform
- Facebook deems the platform with the highest number of active users, whopping 2.91 billion monthly active users, with 59% of the social media users.
- Twitter has 77 million active users in the United States alone and 353 million monthly active users around the world.
- Pinterest has 431 million active users around the world and is used by 89% of social media users, especially for purchase inspiration.
- LinkedIn is a business platform, embracing almost over 250 million monthly active users around the world, with over 77% of them are outside the United States.
- Instagram has 1.4 billion monthly active users, while TikTok has over a billion monthly active users, with most of them ages 11-28.
- There are 6,000 tweets on average every second.
- 26% of Facebook users in the United States are aged 25 to 34.
- Facebook active users spend 19.6+ hours per month on average.
- There are 1+ million video views daily on TikTok.
How to Reduce the Social Media Comparison Effect on Your Well-Being?
Numerous studies have consistently revealed that excessive usage of social media apps can lead to social media comparison, which is strongly linked to a range of negative emotions. Therefore, to shield oneself from the perils of social comparison, it is essential to restrict the amount of time spent on these platforms. Fortunately, several practical strategies can be employed in this endeavour:
1. Remember that Social Media is Different From Reality
Always bear in mind that what you see online doesn’t necessarily reflect reality: resist the urge to compare your inner world with someone else’s appearance. The captivating posts you come across are intentionally crafted to attract attention and may not accurately represent the intricate nuances of real-life experiences. Besides, people rarely do post about their failures and struggles, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have them, just like you do.
2. Remind Yourself of the Things You’re Grateful For
The power of gratitude is not to be underestimated in elevating one’s mood. Shift your attention towards the blessings in your life rather than fixating on what you lack. Even the tiniest of things hold significance, as recognising and appreciating what you possess can be contributory in defying the harmful trap of social media comparison.
3. Limit the Time You Spend on Social Media
It is becoming increasingly difficult to resist the pull of social media platforms. However, it is crucial to strike a balance and avoid the potential adverse effects of excessive usage. Fortunately, there are helpful applications available that allow users to regain control over their social media consumption.
4. Set Your Priorities Straight
Setting daily limits or specific times during the day when access to social media goes a long way. You may choose to temporarily turn off the notifications on your phone or activate the screen time limit. These little strategies can be your doorway to a more productive day. This way, you will be to prioritise your time and attention more effectively.
5. Notice Your Triggers
Empowering yourself begins with being mindful of your triggers. Take a moment to recognise those social media posts that have a knack for making you feel deflated, encouraging the notorious comparison trap. It’s time to reclaim control! Consider taking the bold step of unfollowing those individuals whose content undermines your self-esteem.
6. Leverage Social Media for Your Advantage
In the realm of social media, it’s crucial to prioritise positivity and make intentional choices about the content we consume. Rather than subjecting ourselves to the detrimental effects of comparing ourselves to others or being surrounded by negativity, seeking out individuals and posts that ignite inspiration within us is beneficial.
By embracing these innovative tools, you can truly transform your relationship with social media and unleash a world of personal growth and enhanced productivity. It’s better to dive into the realm of captivating apps that will elevate your overall well-being and stir you clear of the trap of social media comparison. Prepare to revolutionise your online world!