November 29, 2022

Social Media Addiction: The Obsession With Online Image

By Megan Wlodarczyk

Social media has been around for years now. Since social media sites first started gaining popularity, members of the online community have been creating their “online image.” Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have enabled people to create identities that may be similar to who they are in real life, but may also be entirely different.

There are some concerns regarding the creation of online images and what people do to maintain them. Some social media users spend hours carefully editing pictures, devising captions and conversing with other users to build a following. There seems to be anxiety surrounding the situation. Sharing a post that does not receive much attention (likes and comments), can make us feel unimportant; not only on social media, but also in the real world. Many of our followers are friends or acquaintances we know in our everyday life. If they are not responding to our social media posts – are we then being cast out from society?

Group of people using mobile phone with blank screen

These may seem like extreme conclusions about how social media affects us, but for many it is a reality. Social media has become such a staple in our lives and it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate it from the real world. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly made social media a more prevalent factor in our lives. Throughout the past year, while everyone was quarantining in their homes, there was not much to do besides turn on our phones and share with the world. TikTok trends took the spotlight as we got creative in keeping ourselves busy. While this may have helped us get through the pandemic as a collective group, we also found ourselves increasingly glued to our phone screens.

The Addiction Center defines social media addiction as “a behavioral addiction that is characterized as being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas.” Many social media users find themselves in this unfortunate situation where they cannot seem to break away from their screens. Likes and comments supply their brains with dopamine, curating an obsession with posting on their pages.

While it seems like society continues to increase its obsession with online image and social media, there is certainly hope that we can save ourselves. We should encourage each other to spend less time on our phones and more time present in the real world. It is important we separate our online lives from our real world lives as much as possible to avoid addiction.

9 thoughts on “Social Media Addiction: The Obsession With Online Image

  1. Hey Megan, social media addiction is a real thing and it really can hurt people. It is quite easy to see how many people really are dependent on their social media images and do almost anything to keep that specific image alive. It is kind of sad to see people living on their phones nowadays and spending less time communicating face-to-face.

  2. Nice blog Megan, I found it interesting that the Addiction Center defined social media addiction. I checked out their site and was surprised that they had steps on how to cure this addiction. But what I thought was really interesting was that they offered professional help but didn’t specify what professional help entails. I wonder what a professional in this field would do or say to help the individual.

  3. Hi Megan!
    I really enjoyed reading your blog post! I think effects social media has on our mental and physical health are really important to talk about. Not only holding ourselves but also friends and family accountable by reminding us all to stay present in the moment is one way we can fight these harmful effects. It will be interesting to see what new findings come up down the road.

  4. Hi Megan. I was so intrigued reading your blog post. Social media addiction is definitely something that is so prevalent within our society today that it is so easy to overlook addiction for normal behavior. I think this prevalence of social media use is, in the long term, really harmful for our well-being as well as future generation well-being. We’re never truly able to escape the criticism and judgement that so often comes with social media, even within the “safety” of our own homes, which makes me wonder how young children whose brains and self images are still developing will be affected in the future. Definitely a really important topic. Thank you for writing about this!

  5. Hi Megan! I think you really hit the nail on the head with this post. Despite the benefit of staying connected with our friends, social media poses a huge risk to our mental health. I think you’re right in saying that the cure really is to disconnect and engage with each other in the real world. We’ve already seen the negative effects social media has on us, hopefully, we can start to turn things around now that we are more aware.

  6. Hi Megan, thank you so much for sharing. This was a very interesting read, as I and probably everyone else close to our age is thinking. Social media has become such an important way to socialize, yet has many worrisome consequences. I liked how at the end you mentioned a but about encouraging one another to go outside more, but it could be nice to expand on some examples of those activities, nothing too detailed, but maybe just a small list of ideas of things other than phone time. Great job!

  7. Hi Megan!
    I really enjoyed your post. Social media usage since the pandemic started has increased so much. I think it’s interesting that some smartphones tell you about screen time usage. I wonder if this can be contributing to our social media usage in a negative or beneficial way. It definitely is important to spend time with real people rather than people screens.

  8. Morgan,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I spend a lot of my free time on my phone, but lately have chosen to stay away for personal reasons. Social media has become extremely toxic for some people. It’s sad to think that the social media companies are manipulating users to get more engagement. I think it’s important for everyone to watch the Social Dilemma on Netflix. Theres no need for a devise to make you jealous and impact you mental health in a negative way. Great job on your post!

  9. Hello Megan,
    This reminds me a lot of the time I quit social media for two weeks. It is absolutely an addiction. Not on par with substances such tobacco or something akin to that; but an addiction nonetheless. I would keep reaching for my phone throughout the day constantly to check WhatsApp or Instagram apps that were no longer on my phone. I even sat around thinking “what did I do before I had this to distract me?”. So I agree with your blog post wholeheartedly.

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