In the Age of Social Media, it is important to recognize the role and the effects it has on identity. But what is identity? Identity is, “the self-concept, which is the knowledge of who we are, combined with self-awareness to develop a cognitive representation of the self, called identity” (Worsham, 2011). It is also important to mention that in developing self-awareness, our identity is shaped by both internal and external factors. And, when you add social media in the mix, it makes it an “extension of everyday life and a tool of cultural change” (Worsham, 2011).
According to Stastista, as of 2017, Americans daily social media usage amounted to 135 minutes per day. That is 9 minutes more than it was in 2016 and 26 minutes more than it was back in 2015.
This is a considerable amount of time being spent on social media. Especially, when you look at the increase in time through the years. It makes sense why it plays such a significant role in our everyday lives.
For instance, browsing social media can end up being more than just a form of entertainment. There are now more cases than ever where individuals use it to compare their lives with the lives of others. In an article titled, Social Media’s Impact on Self-Esteem, interviews were conducted on men and women between the ages of 28-73 who are active social media users. Here is what they found:
- “60% of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way
- 50% reported social media having negative effects on their relationships
- 80% reported that is easier to be deceived by others through their sharing on social media”
It also doesn’t help that on media like, Facebook and Instagram there are posts constantly being shared of what kind of person you should be, what you should be doing and how you should look. “Some sources even claim that social media usage can lower self-control, lower self-esteem, cause overeating, and prevent us from thinking independently” (Brown, 2017).
Another interesting fact to recognize is, media’s role in promoting certain lifestyles. There are so many ads all over social media pushing us to buy certain products or develop certain lifestyles. “In essence, media is conveying what we should buy, who we should be, or who we should become, in order to be happy” (Worsham, 2011). It is unfortunate that it seems to be working in its favor no matter what age we are.
In short, Social media is and will remain to be a part of our lives, we just need to learn to embrace it. But, it is important for us to set boundaries on the extent to which we should allow it to control our lives. What do you do to prevent yourself from falling in the psychological pitfalls of social media?
Brown, N. (2017, July 20) How to prevent social media depression. Retrieved, March 16, 2018 from, https://www.fix.com/blog/does-social-media-cause-depression/
Silva, C. (2017, February 22) Social media’s impact on self-esteem. Retrieved, March 16, 2018 from, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/social-medias-impact-on-self-esteem_us_58ade038e4b0d818c4f0a4e4
Statista. (n.d.) Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2017. Retrieved, March 16, 2018 from, https://www.statista.com/statistics/433871/daily-social-media-usage-worldwide/
Worsham, S. L. (2011, November 28) Media’s influence on social norms and identity development of youth. Retrieved, March 16, 2018 from, http://www.personal.psu.edu/bfr3/blogs/applied_social_psychology/2011/11/medias-influence-on-social-norms-and-identity-development-of-youth.html