TECH Central- Social media refers to websites and applications that are designed to focus on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.

Social media has become larger and more accessible thanks to access to mobile applications which allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time.

Looking at the different types of social media, there are some that are dedicated to forums, microblogging, social networking, social curation, etc.

Establishments of social media accounts allow people to conduct business with their favourite brands, like their pages, which in turn creates a venue for communication, marketing and networking.

I’m sure we all know about social media applications or sites. However here are a few examples: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, WeChat, Tumblr, TikTok,Triller, Snapchat, and Telegram.

As users engage with the services provided by Social media, they create highly interactive platforms through which individuals, communities, and organizations can share, co-create, discuss, participate and modify user-generated content or self-curated contents.

However, with all its good, Social media also has its disadvantages. One of them is the negative impact of social media on a netizen’s self-esteem.

Self-esteem refers to a person’s positive or negative evaluation of his/herself i.e. the extent to which individual views his/herself whether they are as worthy or competent. The battle for likes, attention, and trying to belong affects active internet users a great deal.

According to a recent study, Social media usage in America grew from 216 million to 223 million people between 2018 and 2019. Some social media platforms have over 100 million registered users and each day, people get exposed to contents that make them doubt themselves.

A study also showed that Instagram is now the most popular social network among Americans between the ages of 12 and 34, ahead of Facebook and Snapchat.

Teenagers are more vulnerable to self-esteem issues than adults. Yet every single day, they get exposed to contents that create self-doubt.

Humans possess a fundamental drive to compare themselves with others. This serves many different functions such as fulfilling ambitions and lots.

Although social media comparison can be beneficial when it inspires people to become more like the person they look up to, it often causes people to feel inadequate, have poorer self-evaluations amongst other negative effects.

Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social interaction skills.

Experts say 60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way. An increase in social media usage causes the self- esteem of individuals to decrease.

In fact an hour spent on Facebook daily results in a 5.57% decrease in the self-esteem score of an individual.

A recent study looked at the impact of chronic and temporary exposure to social comparison on social media sites and their impacts on self-evaluations and self-

esteem. The study found that people who used Facebook most frequently had lower trait self-esteem than those who used Facebook less or not at all.

People need to learn to take other people’s social media posts with a grain of salt. We should keep in mind that people only allow us to see what they want to.

Below are a few tips that might help you as a social media user :

Getting off the app for a while: This literally means getting off every single social media network that causes you some form of discomfort. This doesn’t mean you will never do these apps again—it just means you need to step back and gain a healthier perspective. It’s important to take a break and focus on other interests so you can see how social media really impacts your life.

Find a focus: Sometimes we log in to our Instagram to do some findings but find ourselves lost in other things. You might find yourself aimlessly scrolling through your feed looking at pictures of friends and family.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing until we start to base our real self-esteem on someone’s Photoshopped image.

Instead, we should take time to focus on what we want to convey to our audience based upon how we choose to use social media.

Be a little bit private: Choose to leave out the more intimate part of your life. This reduces any chance of you overexposing yourself in a way that makes you feel vulnerable and perhaps more sensitive to others’ opinions.

Remind yourself of your self-worth: This is one of the best ways to boost your confidence level. Make a list of qualities you have that make you a great person, such as your sense of humour and loyalty, etc.

Have an aim: Before opening a social media account, take some time to think about why you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Is it your intention to boost your social media presence? Or are you interested in putting your content out there? Whatever it is, as long as you have an aim, it won’t be easy to get swayed.

Summarily, Social media has its good and bad side. So as individuals, we should try as much as possible to keep the negative effects of social media away from us.

There should be some form of balance between our lives and our use of social media.

The next time you are tempted to throw a social media-induced pity party, remember that most of the time, nothing is nearly as perfect as it seems.
Take the good and leave the bad.

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