The emotions cause by scrolling through social media. Image provided by :herzindagi

The use of social media has become increasingly popular over the years and will only continue to do so over time. The main users of social media are the younger generation. Social media platforms like TikTok stand out as one of the most used platforms by teenagers. This can be concerning to see how the younger generation may be making social comparisons to those who post false realities on social media. With this all-time rise of social media usage, it’s important to bring awareness of social media’s negative influence on body image and self-esteem to promote a positive sense of self-worth and self-love. 

Social Media platforms allow individuals to post quick videos or pictures of their lives that can be easily fabricated. Nowadays, the use of Photoshop and filters has been normalized to the point where people alter themselves heavily enough to where they look nothing like their photos in real life. These heavily altered images have promoted an unachievable look to society. These unrealistic beauty standards can take a toll on the average person who is constantly coming across an unattainable look on their social media feed. These types of images only encourage people to compare themselves to these exaggerated photos which then leads to poor body image and self-esteem. 

Not only do comparisons on social media decrease the well-being of individuals but also comparisons of social media engagements. People can engage with social media content through likes, comments, and follower count. People have been using these ways of engagement as validation and approval from other users. Social media users have become hyper-fixated on engagements and used it in a way to understand how other users view their page. This has only caused people to constantly feel the need to attain a certain image for their audience. 

Social media influencers are constantly reshaping what should be considered the beauty standards and life expectations in society. They often promote expectations that are unattainable to the average person. The lifestyle they portray online is often filled with luxurious merchandise and lavish experiences. Most of the time these lifestyles are fabricated in a way to make their life look way more exciting and appealing than it is. People have fabricated this lifestyle by photoshopping, making purchases of counterfeit designer items, or even going into debt to upkeep this unattainable lifestyle. This can be harmful for the younger viewers who will likely have a harder time differentiating something from being real or fake. 

It can be alarming knowing the top users of social media are young adults and adolescents. These individuals are at a stage in their lives where they look at others as role models and mentors. Social media may not be the greatest place to use these influencers as role models, especially with how easily they can fabricate their real lives to the type of life they showcase online. It is common for the younger generation to have a harder time pointing out false depictions online than the older generation. These depictions can also be harmful to the way the younger generation perceives themselves.

In an era dominated by digital platforms, it is crucial to understand the trend of showcasing false realities on social media. Influencers should be held accountable and exposed when they decide to post harmful depictions online to their audiences. For this reason, it is also crucial to promote self-worth and self-love so that others do not fall into social media’s trap of unrealistic expectations. When people look at the profiles of other individuals, it often lowers their self-esteem. People should be encouraged to limit their screen time usage on social media platforms and connect with reality. This disconnection can promote a greater mindset and self-esteem. The greater the use of social media platforms, the greater the chance users will compare. 

There is an evident correlation between how social media triggers social comparison amongst their users. With how easy it is for individuals to fabricate images and their lifestyles on social media, it makes sense why viewers will feel the need to compare their lives to those online. The only issue is that they may need to learn that these portrayals are altered. For this reason, we must be a bit more mindful when we decide to be on social media and have genuine connections with people in real life. 

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