Being a part of the millennial generation, it’s a no brainer that social media has become such a large part of our lives. Whether you’ve just woken up and unplugged your phone from the charger, or you’re on your daily commute to work or uni, you just need your daily digital dose. You use social media to tag people in memes, roast your friends in group chats, and mostly to document the milestones of your life *cue graduation photo*. Despite how great social media may be, you’ve probably read several articles on how damaging it can be for your mental health and self-esteem.
We all know a social media platform that’s based on image and has been taking the world by storm since we can remember. That’s right, Instagram. Instagram has become a great tool for advertisers, businesses and us of course, for the occasional selfie and what not. It has become a digital haven for bloggers and influencers. But over the years, the platform has become increasingly controversial.
As an Instagram user, you mindlessly scroll down your feed and double tap on images with ease, before refreshing the page and doing it all over again. But it’s what you see that begins to play with your mind. Whether it be a flick of a beach babe sipping on piña coladas in Hawaii, the classic hand on the steering wheel of a six-digit luxury car, or a mirror selfie of a petite model in activewear with hard rock abs, the list is endless. It’s gotten to the point where you feel like these images have become an augmented reality of how you think your life should be. You find yourself constantly comparing your life to what appears to be the glitz and glam of someone else’s.
Even though you know how bad it is, you still manage to dedicate a few hours of your day, or more, to the app. It’s like you’re trapped in some sort of social loop. You’ve got a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and you feel like you have to constantly check Instagram, just incase. Perhaps a sneak peek won’t hurt. Does this sound familiar to you?
Some celebrities have spoken out about this issue. Particularly, Justin Bieber who has used Instagram to address his thoughts. “Hey world that glamourous lifestyle you see portrayed by famous people on Instagram,” the ‘What Do You Mean?’ singer said. “Don’t be fooled into thinking their life is better than yours. I can promise you it’s not!”
The Instagram queen herself – amassing a huge 139 million followers – Selena Gomez, has also admitted to having a complicated relationship with Instagram. “The only thing that worries me is how much value people our age place on social media,” the singer and actress tells Harpers Bazaar. “It’s an incredible platform, but in a lot of ways it’s given young people, myself included, a false representation of what’s important.” This really goes to show that even celebrities who we assume have the most affluent lifestyles still face the downside of fame. Having said that, it’s nice to see some using their status to make a difference. Suppose it all comes down to empowering each other, to be that voice.
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be dwelling over whether someone has a better body, if they drive a nicer car, or are decked out head to toe in designer brands, and you aren’t. As far as you know, what you see on Instagram may only be a snapshot of someone’s life. You don’t know what happens behind closed doors, and the nitty gritty details of what someone is really going through, because chances are they won’t post it.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the lives of others that you can often forget how great your own life is. You shouldn’t let this imagery dictate how your life should be, it will only hurt you if you let it. But this doesn’t mean you can’t go on Instagram and still appreciate how well dressed someone is, or how aesthetically pleasing their feed is. You can definitely still do those things (we do!). Just remember to let yourself be in control of your own thoughts because at the end of the day, it’s your own life and you shouldn’t feel the need to compare it to someone else’s. As millennials commonly say, keep “living your best life”, the way you want to.