The Impact Of Social Media On Self Esteem And Well Being Of Emerging Adults

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The Impact of Social Media on the Self-Esteem and Well-Being of Emerging Adults According to a Dian de Vries and Rinaldo Kühne (2015), Facebook is by far the most popular social networking site worldwide with over one and a half billion active users every month. Sites like Facebook are most popular among emerging adults, making them the most vulnerable group to the negative effects social media can have on well being for a number of reasons. Individuals in this age range are starting to form and solidify self-perceptions which are directly linked to one’s well-being. Negative self-perceptions are associated with symptoms of depression and positive self-perceptions are associated with a healthier, more positive well-being. (de Vries & Kühne, 2015). So, if social media sites like Facebook offer an easily accessible platform—intended or not—for social comparison, social media use could ultimately sow the seeds for negative self-perceptions and a decrease in overall well-being. Social Comparison The social comparison theory is really centered at the core of this issue. It is a natural and common human behavior to compare one’s self to others. There are many functions social comparison serves. As researchers Erin Vogel, et al. (2014) have explained it in their work published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture, social comparison impacts decision making, emotion regulation, and most importantly in this context, evaluation of the self. They go on to further to say that social comparison can be categorized as upward or downward, whereas upward social comparison “more often causes people to feel inadequate” and downward social comparison “more often leads to improvements in affect and self-evaluation” (p. 207). The issue is that upward... ... middle of paper ... ... particular, emerging adults. If higher levels of uncertainty about one’s self is positively associated with one’s frequency of social comparison (Lee, 2014), emerging adults report a higher degree of uncertainty in relation to their identity and future (Munson, et. al, 2013), negative social comparison is closely associated with depressive symptoms (Feinstein, et. al, 2013), and the formation of one’s sense of self is crucial to development at this age range (Munson, et. al, 2013), there is cause for concern regarding the well-being and self-esteem of emerging adults. To prevent any adverse effects from social comparison facilitated by wildly popular social networking sites like Facebook, it is imperative that more research be done on how to first prevent or lessen the impact of the mechanisms that likely cause depressive symptoms associated with social comparison.

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