Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? A TEDx Talk by Bailey Parnell
Bailey Parnell’s TEDx talk “Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health?” explores the unintended consequences of social media on individuals’ mental health. She highlights the stressors of social media, and their impact, and offers guidance on how to craft a better experience online.
The Highlight Reel
According to Parnell, social media is our personal highlight reel. We share the best and brightest moments of our lives, showcasing our wins and accomplishments. However, the downside is that we often compare ourselves to others, which leads to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. This tendency to compare ourselves to others has always existed but with social media, it happens all the time, making it harder to avoid.
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The second stressor on social media is social currency. Just like the dollar, social currency is something that people use to measure value. On social media, it is the number of likes, followers, and comments that we receive. Parnell warns that when our highlights do well, it creates an addiction to social validation. As a result, we begin to seek validation through the likes and comments that we receive on our posts, leading to an obsession with social media.
Phantom Vibration Syndrome
Parnell discusses how people develop Phantom Vibration Syndrome, where they think their phone vibrated, and they check it, only to find that it hasn’t. This condition has become common among social media users who are often checking their phones for notifications. Parnell suggests that social media has become so intertwined with our lives that we can’t seem to disconnect from it even for a short time. This addiction to social media can be unhealthy and lead to anxiety and stress.
Social Comparison Theory
Parnell talks about the Social Comparison Theory, which suggests that people compare themselves to others to evaluate their own self-worth. Social media amplifies this phenomenon, making it harder for people to separate their online personas from their real-life selves. This leads to feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. Parnell suggests that social media users should take a break from social media, even if it is only for a short period.
In conclusion, Parnell warns that the high social media use associated with anxiety and depression can become full-blown mental health issues. As such, it is essential to understand the impact of social media on our lives and take steps to protect our mental health. Parnell suggests that people should be aware of the stressors of social media, such as the highlight reel and social currency, and take measures to avoid them. She also suggests that people should disconnect from social media regularly to give themselves a break from its negative impact on their mental health.
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