By Fahren Khalid – Verified by Big Youth Group.
As head of Creative at the Big Youth Group, my job is to oversee the creative direction of the company and to be an advisor on anything related to strategy, special projects, advertising and marketing functions within the company.
You have probably heard this advice before and in recent times there is increasing awareness around some of the pitfalls associated with excessively using social media. The platforms designed by social media are great tools for networking, sharing your work and connecting with friends, however we believe it’s important to understand why it may be worth spending a little less time on social media for your mental well being.
Research has found that people who use social media for long periods of time throughout their day suffer from higher levels of anxiety and depression. The problem with social media is that there is this overstimulation created, by having to see so many other peoples lives on your mobile phone. Furthermore, this problem is layered by the fact that the majority of content users create on social media especially applications like Instagram which very images heavy is curated to make themselves look better, or in other words to put their best selves forward.
However, the mistake we tend to make is thinking that this ‘best self’ is their realistic, more rounded and holistic version of themselves, which in honesty has flaws just like you & I.
Despite this, we think social media is one of the most powerful tools in producing social good and sharing ideas that matter. However, when we use the platform as a consumer purely without sharing value it’s a recipe for disaster; especially when we’re young and seeking the validation of our peers.
This leads on to the next point – the seeking of validation. Being validated is a human and almost universal desire, and it has value. However, with social media, the problem that occurs is that we seek validation on a micro level. Did he like my photo, I hope my story gets more views, my friend gets more likes than me and has more followers, therefore, she’s cooler than me.
We shouldn’t compare ourselves against who people are today, rather we should compare ourselves against who we were yesterday. As the individual your responsibility is to grow and flourish in your individual life, social media is not representative of that individual pursuit.
Understand that in order for you to gain happiness, the key is to focus on your own life first, for you to sort out your own house so to speak. Your life matters more than anybody else does online and comparing yourself to others is truly a pointless game, unless you’re doing for inspiration.
Now social media is not bad and we don’t suggest you delete your accounts, it’s a great tool for staying in touch with friends, knowing the now and keeping in touch. However, we suggest spending less time on it if you find yourself feeling anxious or if you feel like maybe your focus would be better placed elsewhere.
All in all understand you are important, and the way you take on your personal life will determine the outcome of your life. Social media is not everything, know that, understand that, then enjoy yourself!