The toxicity of social media

A hand holding a phone and scrolling through photos

Social Media. It is a toxic and addicting place on the internet. Spending every spare second consuming never-ending content and comparing yourself to everyone you see online; it can be damaging to your mental health.

Like many people living in 2023, I find myself addicted to my phone. During a study break, waiting for an appointment, or on the bus; I’ll be scrolling through social media. It has become so ingrained in my memory that I automatically open Instagram as soon as I pick up my phone.

Social media can be educational and entertaining, but it has also been damaging to my mental health. Scrolling through Instagram and wishing you were as pretty as the people on your feed. Scrolling through the TikTok For You page and wishing you were as productive as influencers. Seeing someone post their healthy meal on Pinterest and then feeling bad about the unhealthy snacks you are currently eating. And while these posts might be inspiring you to achieve your goals of being more productive or eating healthier, it can lead to a toxic and harmful journey of wanting to be as perfect as these 'perfect' people you see on your screens.

However, these people are not perfect. No one is perfect, and social media is constantly promoting fake content. These influencers you see on your feeds are only posting the perfect, Instagram-worthy aspects of their life online, while the rest of their life could look completely different.

This is why it is so important to try and not let the toxicity of social media impact your mental health. I have also compiled a few tips that have been really helpful for me in order to use social media to bring me up instead of down:

  • Do not disturb: Put your phone on do not disturb mode more often. Focus and enjoy the everyday moments rather than wasting away the minutes constantly checking your phone.
  • Time limits: You can set daily time limits on many social media apps. This has helped me spend less time on my phone and more time focusing on my studies or appreciating real life.
  • Following list: Go through your friends and following lists and remove people that don’t make you happy. If you’re following an influencer or celebrity that is making you feel bad about yourself, there is no point continuing to follow them. Follow more accounts that inspire you and improve your mental health instead of the opposite.
  • Deleting apps: If you have the self-control, and realise that these apps are really interfering with your mental health, delete them!
  • Beneficial apps: Instead of spending all my spare time scrolling on social media, I spend my time playing puzzle games like Wordle or sudoku, or reading a book instead. Exercising your brain and improving your vocabulary can be much more beneficial than social media.

It is important to acknowledge social media's harmful side, so hopefully by following these suggestions, you too can learn to appreciate your life instead of comparing it to others.

Tagged in What messes with your head, social media, technology, mental health