Updated: Jun 12
Love it, loathe it, or simply accept it for what it is, social media has become a ubiquitous presence in our lives. This is true, especially for most of today's generation whose personal lives are closely intertwined with their social media personas.
For them, growing up can sometimes feel like they are in the spotlight. It may cause self-doubt by inciting comparisons with others, which could result in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. This blog explores the impact that social media has on self-esteem and body image through a balanced lens.
How do body image issues come about?
If you open Instagram or Facebook, you will find them heavily laden with filters and other enhancements that promise to make you look amazing in your selfies! Such filters are easily accessible to people who then use them to show off flawless skin, reshaped faces, and face contours. They are gradually introduced to it with kid-friendly, ‘fun’ filters that accentuate puppy ears or angel halos. And as they get older, they come across filter settings that contain more adult-appropriate modifications. Larger eyes, more pronounced eyes, and fuller lips are a few of them. Due to this, it’s possible that many children might never upload a photo of themselves without editing it in some way.
Hence, it's not surprising that body image issues are growing more and more common among social media users. These concerns may have a drastic effect on children growing up. They may have feelings of dissatisfaction with their own body growing up and as a result, may develop eating disorders to always maintain that ‘perfect body’. Not being able to achieve such body standards may also cause feelings of anxiety and depression in such individuals and they may get stuck in this loop of inadequacy.
How does this impact self-esteem?
Quite poorly, in fact! Poor self-esteem is a consequence of your drive to gain ‘likes’ and creates a false perception of the world. Those who fall into this group frequently engage in harmful online comparisons with the people they follow and are forced to deal with society's unrealistic expectations of perfectionism. Such expectations can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. This can lead to negative self-talk, depression, social isolation, and a negative impact on work and relationships around the individual.
So, what can we learn from this?
Starting a conversation about body image can be a little scary but it's important to talk about how you feel about what you see online. It is also imperative to discuss how it may impact your self-esteem. We have some ideas to help you combat it:-
You can limit your time on social media so that you are not exposed to copious amounts of negative content.
You can curate your social media feed by unfollowing accounts that promote unrealistic beauty standards.
You can also challenge media messages that promote unrealistic beauty standards in your own way.
Our final two cents
You might believe that scrolling through social media is just a way to unwind, but research has shown that the photos you view and the people you engage with can affect your self-esteem. That said, not all social media use is detrimental. It simply indicates you might want to reassess your approach to using social media. You can change your social media experience for the better by unfollowing particular profiles, joining a support group, or taking breaks from the daily scroll.