Social media: Not just a way to stay connected


Social media affects many aspects of our daily lives. From checking Instagram for a daily dose of news to looking at Facebook to check in on old friends, there is no doubt that it allows us to stay connected to others worldwide. 

However, there are dark aspects of social media that can lead to detrimental effects on mental and, sometimes, physical well-being.

According to, “multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for mental issues like depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.” 

Scrolling through apps like Instagram and Tiktok can lead to even more problems like increasing insecurities, body dysmorphia, FOMO (fear of missing out), isolation, depression, anxiety, cyberbullying, and self-absorption. 

Before social media, if your friends excluded you from an outing, the worst that could happen was you would hear about it the next day. But, with the never-ending social media feeds, you see pictures and videos plastered everywhere of all the fun you weren’t invited to.

Social media can also affect long-term physical well-being. For example, according to the National Library of Medicine, “several articles have proposed a link between the thin female beauty ideal and the muscular male body ideal portrayed in the media with a range of psychological symptomatology including body dissatisfaction and eating disorders.” 

Finding yourself stuck in a spiral of not being thin enough, not pretty enough, and not good enough leads many individuals to try and manipulate their appearance. Unfortunately, this strategy most often can lead to detrimental effects on functional eating habits in men and women today, an issue that can take years to mend. 

There’s no doubt that time gets away from us amid a “ten-minute TikTok break,” but why? The fear of missing out keeps us returning more, time and time again. We want to know the latest between friends, interact with new posts, avoid missing invitations, and always stay in the know. 

According to Penn Medicine, “Social media apps and websites have the same effect on the brain as playing a slot machine. Since you don’t know the content you’ll see until you open the app, the spontaneous results cause a feeling of “reward” by releasing dopamine,” meaning a literal chemical reaction can occur in the brain when we use social media that acts as a driving force for us to continue using it.

After a recent week-long break from Tiktok and Instagram, I can relate to a newfound piece of mind. Not only did I feel more refreshed and cleansed of negativity, but I also found more motivation and a better sense of time management. In addition, knowing that I had already gone a few days without these apps made me more comfortable ignoring them since nothing catastrophic happened, believe it or not, without using them. So next time you find yourself lost in a world of comparison and disapproval online, lay off the apps for a bit and find your new sense of happiness.