My screen time has been through the roof lately. I know exactly what is to blame: TikTok. An app I once swore to never get is now the main source of my social media addiction. I try to justify my attachment to it by arguing that I am using it to further my music career and reach more potential fans, which I am. However, the hours I spend on TikTok are not solely for promoting my music. Most of the time, I find myself scrolling mindlessly through videos that provide no value. I believe these videos have shortened my attention span and caused some body image issues to resurface. While social media has done wonderful things for my music career, it has also had a negative impact on my mental health.
I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Many of my friends and family have expressed similar feelings regarding social media. My best friend recently deleted TikTok because she realized she had been spending too much time on it. My dad swore to never get Facebook after watching my mom scroll through her feed constantly. My aunt and uncle are hesitant to allow my little cousin to download Instagram because they are concerned about the dangers of social media. Social media can result in exposure to cyberbullying and other disturbing content. For impressionable young people, it can be a gateway to detrimental behaviors and can lead to bad habits. Many of us are aware that social media is unhealthy, yet we continue to use it on a daily basis.
Social media provides a warped view of reality. We only see the highlight reels of people’s lives when we scroll through our Instagram or TikTok feeds. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your life is lame because it isn’t aesthetic or it doesn’t look as exciting as the lives of other people your age. It is easy to start believing things you wouldn’t usually believe because information is constantly being thrown at you on social media. Oftentimes, I find myself having a pessimistic perspective of life after scrolling for hours through posts that claim we’re living through the apocalypse. I have to step back and remind myself that what I am seeing on my little glass rectangle is not reality. It’s important to go outside and touch some grass to remind myself that there is a world around me that is much more important than the world that exists on my screen.
In terms of body image, social media can be a destructive force. Many influencers on Instagram use photoshop and filters that promote an unhealthy beauty standard. While I have learned that it is best to avoid these accounts, I still sometimes find myself scrolling through photos of models and wishing that my stomach was a little flatter, my legs a little slimmer, and my nose a little smaller. I look in the mirror and all of a sudden I no longer see a beautiful woman, but a vision of imperfection. The constant exposure to images of pretty girls has caused me to doubt my own beauty. I can only imagine that the negative effects of social media on body image are even more pronounced in younger age groups.
Social media is a tool that can be used for good, but unfortunately, it is not as positive as it has the potential to be. I have experienced the negative effects of social media on my mental health, and thus I am considering taking a long break from it. I am sure ditching TikTok would do me some good, and I look forward to watching my screen time decrease over the next couple weeks.
Design by Amber Lee
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