Mental Health
Sep 15, 2021

Does Social Media Affect our Self-esteem? Pt II

In my last blog, I outlined some research regarding wether Facebook has a negative affect on our self-esteem. As you can see, the research is varied! During my time at university, I completed a thesis during my Honours year where I sought to find out the answer to the following questions: does more time spent on Facebook correlate with lower self-esteem? Below I will outline my results.

To my surprise, the results of my research found that more time spent on Facebook predicted higher self-esteem! There could be a number of reasons for this relationship. As discussed in my last blog, a study by Bazarova, Choi, Schwanda Sosik, Cosley, and Whitlock (2015) argued that virtual affirmations boost self-esteem. These affirmations could be expressed on Facebook by liking someone’s photo or status. Another reason for this finding could be that participants may selectively choose information that they share on Facebook, such that they may only share positive and admirable posts about themselves. According to Gonzales and Hancock (2011), this could induce a biased opinion of the self and in turn, raise self-esteem. Facebook also prompts users to complete autobiographical information. This may influence users to view themselves as they would like others to view them, even if the representation is inaccurate. Perhaps this type of exposure is what increases self-esteem.

It was concluded that although there is a relationship between self-esteem and Facebook use, the relationship is complex as what we see and what we post on social media does not always reflect our true reality. Therefore, Facebook and social media use should be monitored. Experts suggest 30 minuets a day is appropriate. However, due to COVID-19, it is predicted that social media use is on the rise, due to limits in face to face communication. It is therefore recommended that you take frequent brakes from your social media usage.

Sources:

Bazarova, N., Choi, Y., Schwanda Sosik, V., Cosley, D., & Whitlock, J. (2015). Socialsharing of emotions on Facebook: Channel differences, satisfaction, and replies. Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer SupportedCooperative Work & Social Computing, 154-164, doi: 10.1145/2675133.2675297

Gonzales, A., & Hancock, J. (2011). Mirror, mirror on my Facebook wall: Effects ofexposure to Facebook on self-esteem. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and SocialNetworking,14(1-2), 79-83, doi: 10.1089/cyber.2009.0411

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