10 Negative Side Effects of Social Media (and How to Overcome Them)

At first, the disadvantages of social media might be hard to spot. With seven out of ten Americans using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, social media has completely changed the way we communicate with others.
Reuniting families, creating friendships, presenting opportunities, offering jobs, and even playing “matchmaker” are just a handful of the many incredible advantages to using social media.
While the perks of engaging in these networks sound highly alluring on the surface, if you dig a little deeper, you may begin to find yourself struggling with some of the negative side effects of always “staying connected.”
Did you know social media can also affect your time on the mat? Check out How Social Media Can Help & Hurt Your Yoga Practice

10 Negative Side Effects of Social Media and Tips to Overcome Them

As with most things in life, social media has its pros and cons. However, there are most certainly ways to ensure your good online experiences outweigh the bad.
Check out these ten negative side effects below to see if you personally identify with any of them when it comes to your #OnlineInteractions.

1. Lowered Self-Esteem

In a disheartening online world where “More Likes = You’re More Liked” and “More Followers = You’re More Favored,” social media has the tendency to praise popularity. This unrealistic standard can take a drastic toll on your self-esteem if you fall prey to basing your self-worth on the quantity of interactions you receive online.
Tip: Frequently remind yourself that your life is NOT valued by popularity, numbers, or the opinions of others. Self-esteem is YOUR own personal opinion of yourself.

2. Constant Comparison

Going hand-in-hand with lowered self-esteem is our incessant need to compare all aspects of our lives to the seemingly “perfect” ones we see on social media. Habitually, we compare our body types, facial features, relationships, travel experiences, jobs, homes, etc. to others’ until we feel completely defeated and green with envy.
Tip: Become aware of the situations, people, products, etc. that trigger any jealous behaviors so that you’re better able to consciously avoid them in the future. Unfollow the accounts you’ve been known to compare yourself to – replace them with pup-stagrams instead. 😉

3. Feeling Ungrateful or Unappreciative

Delving deeper into comparison, we sometimes allow ourselves to feel so jealous of others that we begin to feel ungrateful for the lives we’re so graciously gifted. When we focus only on what others have and what we do not, we become distracted and unappreciative of all the important things we do have in life.
Tip: Simple, yet significant – count your blessings.
If you need some help counting your blessings, find out how Gratitude Will Change Your Life – If You Let It.

4. Sadness

Whether or not social media has made you feel sad for any of the three reasons mentioned above, it’s likely that something you’ve dealt with on the web has made you feel this way. Being cyber-bullied, feeling excluded from a group, or feeling capsized by the vast amount of online negativity are just a few of the reasons why you could be suffering from social media-caused sadness.
Tip: Remember, social media is a choice . . . not a necessity. If logging on prompts you to have recurring feelings of sadness, it may be time to “deactivate” and fill your spare time with activities that bring you more joy.

5. Lower Quality Interactions

The ability to stay connected and receive up-to-the-minute updates via social media gives us a huge advantage in our online social game. However, because of this convenience, we sometimes miss out on more engaging, face-to-face social outings and experiences due to our inability to quite literally put the phone down.
Tip: At social gatherings, such as dinner with the family or a night out with friends, try turning your phone on silent and simply enjoying the entertainment of your good vibe tribe.


6. Lack of Productivity

Simply checking your social media accounts on the daily won’t necessarily lead to scads of lost time. However, checking them multiple times a day for several minutes or even hours certainly can. As of 2017, global internet users spent nearly two and a half hours per day on social media alone.
Tip: Build “social media time” into your daily routine and allocate a specific, reasonable duration of time to do your scrolling in order to avoid squandering away useful hours of your day.
Need more productivity in your life? Try these 10 Productivity Hacks to Maximize Your Time at Work

7. Impulse to Overshare

While the fine act of “maintaining your mystery” is quickly becoming a dying art, there’s a reason your parents repeatedly told you not to share your ASL (age, sex, location) with random people on the internet.
Oversharing information on social media such as your school, phone number, vacation dates, daily routes, etc. leaves you more susceptible to the dangers of the internet including location tracking, fraud, and an overall lack of privacy.
Tip: Refrain from sharing posts containing potentially sensitive information whenever possible. If you have to question it, it’s a good sign you shouldn’t be sharing it. When in doubt, opt-out.

8. Interrupted Sleep Patterns

While being on our electronics right before bedtime may seem harmless, studies have shown that exposure to blue-and-white light given off by our gadgets prevents our brains from releasing melatonin. Some even consider scrolling through social networks after crawling into bed part of their nightly routine, which can easily turn into several minutes or even hours of missed sleep.
Tip: Studies suggest avoiding screen time at least one hour before bedtime to avoid sleep loss due to blue-and-white light exposure.

9. “Text Neck”

A relatively new occurrence rightly named “Text Neck” results when the neck, shoulder, and back muscles become strained due to overextension of the neck and hunching of the upper body over a phone or other devices. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain, pinched nerves, and spinal degeneration are common side effects of Text Neck.
Tip: When using your electronic devices, aim to make a habit out of maintaining an upright posture with your head up and shoulders relaxed down away from your ears. Draw your device to your eye level rather than the other way around.
Aching from Text Neck? Practice These 7 Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Neck Pain

10. Missing Out on the Present Moment

Time is the most precious asset we’re given in life. The problem with time is we always think we have more of it. Aside from social media taking up so much of our valuable time, it also bestows a pressure upon us to constantly maintain our presence and appearance online, taking away from the joys and moments of our real lives happening right now.
Tip: Don’t be so wrapped up in keeping perfectly up-to-date with social media that you forget to appreciate the joys of life that are right in front of you.

Here’s How to Overcome the Disadvantages of Social Media

When it comes to your relationship with social media, as with any relationship, it should always bring you more feelings of “ups” than “downs.”

Remember, social media is a choice . . . not a necessity.

If you’re beginning to find your impressions and interactions on social networks are doing more harm than good, honor that it may be time to cut back for a while.
No amount of likes, followers, comments, retweets, or online friends are worth your happiness or mental health.
Not sure where to go from here? Follow These 6 Steps For a (Much-Needed) Technology Detox

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Jillian Halliday

Jill Halliday is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Registered Holistic Nutrition Practitioner helping others find sustainable nourishment! When not working her administrative position or 1:1 with nutrition clients, you can find her enjoying time with her family or getting in a sweat in the gym/on the mat!

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