If you want to feel better about your looks, then you may want to take a break from social media. A new study says social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are making people feel less confident and secure about their appearance.
The research, compiled by the online diary site Pencourage.com, found that more than half of the Facebook and Instagram users in England admitted that reading gushing romantic or fitness-related updates by users left them feeling very insecure about their bodies. The insecure users were so affected by these updates that they were less likely to have sex with their own partners after reading other people’s posts.
“These findings go further than previous studies, which showed that intimacy is affected because we spend more time on our smartphones than we ever did before,” said psychologist Dr. Richard Sherry. “The growing trend of showing off sculpted abs, for example, as well as soppy romantic statuses, is damaging viewers’ self-esteem, specifically in regards to sex.”
Photo-sharing by Facebook friends or Instagram users had a much stronger and negative effect on men. Two-thirds of them said that reading posts like that by other people affected their own personal performance in the bedroom.
More than one-quarter of women said that when they logged onto their visually-driven social media accounts before bedtime, they felt “less sexy.” Seven percent of the women said they were definitely not in the mood for sex after checking their Instagram or Facebook accounts.
4 Tips to Keep Your Self Confidence While on Social Media
Lots of books, studies, articles and journals have been written about the effects of social media on self-esteem. So we’ve culled the best ways for you to keep confidence up and your self image soaring while scrolling through your friends’ Facebook and Instagram pages:
- Remember that no one has a perfect life
In 2013, an article published in PLoS ONE and featuring French researchers from Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert CURIEN (IPHC) found that the more time we spend on social media sites comparing ourselves to others, the more depressed we get. What we fail to remember is that our friends and family only post the best versions of their lives and that often horrific details are omitted.
- ‘Likes’ have nothing to do with your self worth
We’re all on social media partially to get attention, and let’s face it — feelings can get hurt when we don’t get it. So while it’s great when you post something and you get a tidal wave of likes, when you post an update and are met with crickets, you can often feel rejected. But never forget you’re still fabulously you, no matter who else cosigns on it.
- Don’t mistake false connections for real ones
It can be such a dizzying high to log onto Facebook and see your friends list growing. To quote Sally Field’s infamous Oscar speech, it must mean, “You like me, you really like me!” Well, sort of, says psychotherapist Sherrie Campbell. “Social media can give us a false sense of belonging and connecting that is not built on real-life exchanges,” Campbell told Alternet.org. “This makes it increasingly easy to lose oneself to cyberspace connections and give them more weight than they deserve.” While it’s certainly possible to have meaningful online relationships, it’s important to be aware of which ones are real and which ones are false connections.
- Stop interrupting real life to post updates to social media
We live in a world where everything must be documented. It seems as if we don’t post it to Facebook or Instagram, it doesn’t exist. Well, it might be time to take a step back and reevaluate that idea. Many healthy and meaningful things in life call for being fully present in the moment. Whether it’s watching your kids perform in the school program or taking in and observing the beauty of nature, there are times when it’s good to just enjoy life. So the next time you’re taking a picture of your real life, ask yourself: do I really need to share this moment? Or should it just be for me and my family?