Most people use social media on a regular basis. Depending on the age and occupation, users spend from a few minutes to a few hours daily.
Social media apps are generally a good thing because they help us to connect with other people and keep us entertained. However, there is one significant drawback we shouldn’t ignore – social media distorts our perception of reality.
The worst part of social media is that it makes us set too high expectations when it comes to our physical appearance, relationships, and lifestyle. Instagram and other apps represent filtered or “polished” portrayals of life that have nothing to do with reality. But the more we use social media, the more we forget this simple truth.
Let’s say you follow a pretty girl on Instagram. You see that she has a perfectly slim body, a loving partner, eats healthy, and follows a fancy morning routine. Since you have never met this girl in real life, you believe that it’s all real. You don’t see her cellulite because she edits all her pictures, you don’t see her fighting with her partner, and you don’t see her eating leftover pizza for breakfast.
So, when it comes to your own life, you also want your body to be perfect. You beat yourself up for eating an unhealthy snack and doubt whether your partner is “the right one”. Social media has influenced your perception of reality and made you set unrealistic expectations.
If you want to live happily, always remind yourself that everything you see on the apps is just a part – an idealized part – of someone else’s life. Enjoy your life the way it is, and set adequate goals you can achieve.
Many people are obsessed with the idea of growing their social media presence. They are more focused on getting Instagram-worthy pictures rather than things that bring real joy. When they travel, they spend more time queuing to take a photo at tourist attractions rather than exploring the place. When dining out, they choose fancy meals and take food pictures before eating.
Virtual life shifts our values. So sometimes, we need to unplug from the digital world and focus on the things that are truly important to us.
Fear of missing out (FOMO)
Fear of missing out is very common among social media users. People feel anxious about not being able to catch up with all new posts and updates. They see social media as the highest priority and get distracted from their everyday activities.
If you want to calm your anxiety, delete unnecessary apps from your phone and leave just one or two you use the most. For instance, save Facebook for chatting with friends and Hily.com for online dating. These two apps will keep you connected and entertained while not overloading your brains with too much content.
Probably the worst thing about social media is that it normalizes things that shouldn’t be normalized. When people see something fun on TikTok or Facebook, they try to recreate it – and that’s how social media trends emerge.
The problem is that some of those trends promote inadequate behavior. Have you heard about a #EggPrank trend? It’s going viral on TikTok: parents share videos of how they crack eggs on their kids’ heads. While this prank may look fun, it harms the kids emotionally. Since social media has normalized this behavior, parents haven’t bothered to check whether this activity is actually safe and harmless.
And unfortunately, it’s only one of many cases where social media has a negative impact on society.
Social media is changing our perception of reality, and not always in a good way. We should be aware of all these changes – we should focus on the things that are truly important to us rather than things promoted by Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram influencers. If we don’t do it, we will lose connection with the real world and fully immerse in virtual reality.