Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? | Bailey Parnell | TEDxRyersonU
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Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? | Bailey Parnell | TEDxRyersonU

Translator: MARIA TIAKA
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven I’m fat. Wow, I’m fat. She’s only nineteen years old,
what am I doing with my life? Hey! Two likes! Nice. Do I like this photo? Does she really need more likes? I hope I’m going to be invited
to the wedding. One more like, nice! Welcome to the internal monologue
of a typical social media scroll. A monologue that so many
of us have every day, but we don’t think about it,
we don’t talk about it. In fact, many of us
can’t even recognize it happening. I’m Bailey Parnell, and I will discuss
the unintended consequences social media is having
on your mental health. I will show you what’s
stressing you out every day, what it’s doing to you, and how you can craft
a better experience for yourself online. Just over a year ago, my sister and I took a four-day
vacation to Jasper, Alberta. This was the first no-work vacation
I had taken in four years. On this vacation, I was going dark. I was turning on airplane mode,
no email and no social media. The first day there, I was still experiencing
phantom vibration syndrome. That’s where you think
your phone went off, and you check and it didn’t. I was checking incessantly. I was distracted in conversation. I was seeing these gorgeous sights
Jasper had to offer, and my first reaction
was to take out my phone and post it on social. But of course it wasn’t there. The second day was a little bit easier. You might be thinking I’m ridiculous, but I hadn’t been completely
disconnected in over four years. This was practically
a new experience again. It wasn’t until the fourth day I was there that I was finally comfortable
without my phone. I was sitting with my sister,
literally on the side of this mountain, when I started thinking to myself: “What is social media doing to me? What is it doing to my peers?” That was only four days,
and it was anxiety-inducing, it was stressful and it
resulted in withdrawals. That’s when I started to ask questions and have since started
my master’s research into this subject. I’ve worked in social marketing
primarily in higher education for most of my career. That means I work
with a lot of 18- to 24-year-olds, which also happens to be the most active demographic
on social media. The other thing you need to know about me is that I’m young enough
to have grown up with social media, but just old enough to be able
to critically engage with it in a way that twelve-year-old me
probably couldn’t. My life is social media: personally,
professionally and academically. If it was doing this to me,
what was it doing to everyone else? I immediately found out I wasn’t alone. The center for collegiate mental health
found that the top three diagnoses on University campuses
are anxiety, depression and stress. Numerous studies from the US,
Canada, the UK, you name it, have linked this high social media use with these high levels
of anxiety and depression. But the scary thing
is that high social media use is almost everyone I know: my friends, my family, my colleagues. 90% of 18- to 29-year-olds
are on social media. We spend on average
two hours a day there. We don’t even eat for two hours a day. 70% of the Canadian population
is on social media. Our voter turnout isn’t even 70%. Anything we do this often
is worthy of critical observation. Anything we spend this much time doing
has lasting effects on us. So let me introduce you to four of the most common
stressors on social media, that if go unchecked have potential to become
full-blown mental health issues, and this is by no means
an exhaustive list. Number one: the Highlight Reel. Just like in sports, the highlight reel is a collection
of the best and brightest moments. Social media is
our personal highlight reel. It’s where we put up our wins,
or when we look great, or when we are out
with friends and family. But we struggle with insecurity because we compare
our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reels. We are constantly comparing
ourselves to others. Yes, this was happening
before social media, with TV and celebrity, but now it’s happening all the time,
and it’s directly linked to you. A perfect example I came across
in preparation for this talk is my friend on vacation: ‘brb, nap …’ (Laughter) ‘Wait, why can’t I afford a vacation? Why am I just sitting here
in my PJ’s watching Netflix? I want to be on a beach.’ Here’s the thing, I know her very well. I knew this was
out of the ordinary for her. I knew she was typically
drowning in schoolwork. But we think, ‘Who wants to see that?’ The highlights are
what people want to see. In fact, when your highlights do well, you encounter the second
stressor on social media. Which is number two: Social Currency. Just like the dollar, a currency
is literally something we use to attribute value to a good or service. In social media, these likes,
the comments, the shares have become this form of social currency
by which we attribute value to something. In marketing, we call it
the ‘Economy of Attention’. Everything is competing
for your attention, and when you give something a like
or a piece of that finite attention, it becomes a recorded transaction
attributing value. Which is great if you
are selling albums or clothing. The problem is that in our social media, [WE are the product.] We are letting others
attribute value to us. You know someone or are someone
that has taken down a photo because it didn’t take as many likes
as you thought it would. I’ll admit, I’ve been
right there with you. We took our product off the shelf
because it wasn’t selling fast enough. This is changing our sense of identity. We are tying up our self-worth
of what others think about us and then we are quantifying it
for everyone to see. And we are obsessed. We have to get that selfie just right,
and we will take 300 photos to make sure. Then we will wait
for the perfect time to post. We are so obsessed we have biological responses
when we can’t participate. Which leads me to
the third stressor on social media. Number three: F.O.M.O. It’s a light phrase
we’ve all thrown around. F.O.M.O., or the ‘fear of missing out’,
is an actual social anxiety from the fear that you are missing
a potential connection, event, or opportunity. A collection of Canadian Universities
found that 7/10 students said they would get rid of
their social networking accounts if it were not for fear
of being left ‘out of the loop’. Out of curiosity, how many people here have, or have considered
deactivating your social. That’s almost everyone. That F.O.M.O. you feel,
the highlight reels, the social currency, those are all results of a relatively
‘normal’ social media experience. But what if going on social every day
was a terrifying experience? Where you not just
question your self-worth but you question your safety? Perhaps the worst stressor
on social media is number four: Online Harassment. 40% of online adults
have experienced online harassment. 73% have witnessed it. The unfortunate reality is
that it is much worse and much more likely if you are a woman, LGBTQ,
a person of color, muslim – I think you get the point. The problem is that in the news
we are seeing these big stories: The 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who took his life after his roommate
secretly filmed him kissing another guy and outed him on Twitter. We see women like Anita Sarkeesian
being close to shamed of the internet and sent death and rape threats
for sharing their feminism. We see these stories once it is too late. What about the everyday
online harassment? What about that ugly snapchat
you sent your friend with the intention of it being private,
and now it is up on Facebook? ‘And so? It’s just one photo, it’s funny.’ ‘Just one mean comment, not a big deal.’ But when these micro moments
happen over and over again, over time, that’s when we have a macro problem. We have to recognize
these everyday instances as well. Because if they go unchecked
and the effects unnoticed, we are going to have
many more Tyler Clementis. The effects are not always
easy to recognise. How many of you have noticed
the notifications at the top of my screen? How many of you, like me,
are bothered that they’re not checked? Ok, let me check them for you.
(Sighs) Okay! Just one small example
of what this can do to you. Maybe you simply cannot focus
because your notifications are going off the handle,
and you need to check. That need, eventually becomes addiction. Regarding social media,
we are already experiencing impairment similar
to substance dependencies. With every like, you get a shot
of that feel-good chemical, dopamine. You gain more of that social currency.
So what do we do to feel good? We check likes – just one more time. We post – just one more time. We are anxious if we do not have access. Doesn’t that sound like every drug
you have ever heard of? Yeah! So when that grows, when your social media use
goes unconfronted overtime, that’s when we see the rising levels
of anxiety and depression: the F.O.M.O. the distractions,
the highlight reels, the comparisons; It’s a lot, and it’s all the time! The Canadian Association of Mental Health found that grades 7-12 students
who spent two hours a day on social media reported higher levels of anxiety,
depression and suicidal thoughts. For those of you doing the math,
that’s as young as twelve years old. Here is the thing,
I like social media. I do, I love it. Hearing what I’ve said today might make you think
I want you to get off of it. But I don’t. I don’t think it’s going anywhere, so I’m not going to waste my time telling you to spend less time
on social media. Frankly, I don’t think
absence is an option anymore. But that does not mean
you can’t practice ‘safe social’. Everything I have talked about today has nothing and everything to do
with social media. I mean, social media
is neither good nor bad. It’s just the most recent tool we use
to do what we have always done: tell stories and communicate
with each other. You wouldn’t blame Samsung Television
for a bad TV show. Twitter doesn’t make people
write hateful posts. When we talk about
this dark side of social media, what we really talk about
is the dark side of people. That dark side that makes
harassers harass; that insecurity that makes you
take down a photo you were excited to share. That dark side that looks at a picture
of a happy family and wonders why yours does not look like that. So as parents, as educators,
as friends, as bosses this dark side is
what we need to focus on. We need preventative strategies
and coping strategies so that when you have your low days –
because you will – when you’re questioning your self-worth,
you never get as low as Tyler Clementi – and the many others like him. ‘OK, Bailey, how do you find
social media wellness?’ Here’s the good news: Recognising a problem
is the first step to fixing it. So hearing this talk is just that,
step one: recognise the problem. You know the power of suggestion, when someone tells you about something
and you start seeing it everywhere. That’s why awareness is critical. Because now you will at least
be better able to recognise these effects if and when they happen to you. The second thing you are going to do
is audit your social media diet. The same way we monitor
what goes into our mouth, monitor whatever goes
into your head and heart. Ask yourself: ‘Did that Facebook scroll
make me feel better or worse off?’ ‘How many times
do I actually check likes?’ ‘Why am I responding
this way to that photo?’ Then ask yourself if you are
happy with the results. You might be and that’s OK! But if you’re not, move on to step three. Create a better online experience. After my partner did his audit, he realised his self-worth
was too tied up in social media, but particularly celebrities reminding him
of the things he didn’t have. So he unfollowed all brands
and all celebrities. That worked for him. But it might not be celebrities for you. For me, I had to purge
other people off my timeline. Let me tell you a secret. You do not have to follow your ‘friends’. The truth is that sometimes our friends, or the people we have
on Facebook as a courtesy, they just suck online! You find yourself in this
passive-aggressive status war you didn’t even know was happening. Or you are looking at 50 photos
of the same concert from the same angle. (Laughter) If you want to follow artists,
or comedians, or cats, you can do that. The last thing you will do
is model good behaviour. Offline we are taught not to bully
other kids in the playground. We are taught to respect others
and treat them how they deserve. We are taught not to kick others
when they are down, or take pleasure in their downfalls. Social media is a tool. A tool that can be used for good,
for more positive groups, for revolutions, for putting
grumpy cat in Disney movies. (Laughs) Internet is a weird place. Is social media hurting
your mental health? The answer is: it doesn’t have to. Social can tear you down,
yes, or it can lift you up, where you leave feeling better off,
or have an actual laugh-out-loud. Finally, I have 24 hours in a day, if I spend two of those hours
on social media, then I want my experiences to be full
of inspiration, laughs, motivation, and a whole lot of grumpy cat
in Disney movies. Thank you. (Applause)

About Bill McCormick

Read All Posts By Bill McCormick

100 thoughts on “Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? | Bailey Parnell | TEDxRyersonU

  1. I'd argue that it is relatively easy to quit instagram, snapchat facebook and such. But almost impossible to leave youtube. Youtube is not a social media, more like a social TV

  2. I don't need many friends lol (^_^) because i have also meet fake friends who just did used me so that's why, and i feel much better now without them 🙂 😀 (^_^)

  3. woww I love this and it was really timely that this popped up my YouTube recommend because me and my group decided to focus on mental health awareness for our research project. learned so much today! Thank you!

  4. A few days ago my phone was serviced and I quit social media as long as my phone well back, First I feel lonely bcs my roomate was busy with their own phone and and I'm just looking busy without a phone, Totally I sad bcs my friends only look at their phone all the time. And been while I'm used to without a phone and to be exact also without social media. I feel more meaningful with myself.

  5. I have took the time to go social media free also. I have deactivated my Twitter accounts, which I have not used anyways, but I deleted my instagram app, not my account yet. I want to see how I feel about it and then delete it. It is nice to keep in touch with all the people I have known but is it really worth it to feel like I'm doing nothing? I noticed with social media I was constantly comparing myself to friends. They are already married, have a house, traveling, and I'm in nursing school, at home with my parents and it feels like I am doing nothing. I had to break free from it because I am doing something. It may not be what others are doing but I have to be happy about what I am doing. The only social media I use currently is youtube, reddit (occasionally), facebook I still have but deleted many people who are not involved much in my life and occasionally use as well. and discord (I am in an LDR so it is needed). Other than that, I am trying to decrease my social media usage and improve my mentality. I will be trying to not use my phone for 30 mins upon waking up and 30 mind before bed more.

  6. Apart from her awesome content n style of speaking, I must also acknowledge how she's presented herself. I like d fact that she's dressed sobre (including makeup). Everything matters when you're giving a hard hitting speech. U don't want to divide ppl's attention in any way. It must be solely on d topic. Only then it'll hit us on d right spot. Just like she did in this video. Hats off to her!

  7. SM will affect your attitude towards life if you have negative mindset like envy,judgement Plus you compare yourself to others. My two cents.

  8. True. My mom took my phone for 1 week, my phone is with her on the other city. And on the first day, I was crying like I'm so incomplete. Up until I felt comfortable without using phone, I'm just reading books and cleaning our house.

  9. 4 Stressors on social media:
    1. Highlight reel
    2. Social Currency
    3. F.O.M.O
    4. Online Harassment

    4 Steps to Social Media Wellness
    1. Recognize the problem
    2. Audit your social media diet
    3. Create a better online experience
    4. Model good behaviour

  10. I delete Instagram since one year now ( I spent 13 hours per day) and I will never download it again. I feel better. But I replace it by youtube now 😂 not the same consequences, no photos, no likes system, but still a social media…


  12. i broke my like button omg this is freakin powerful im in love with all of her idea. this helps my thesis so much idk how to say thanks directly to her but thanks :")) loollll <3

  13. social media is the driver of the mental health issues that has lead to the increase in occurrences of mass shootings, change my mind

  14. A LOT has happened since deleting instagram and snapchat. It's amazing. You start to love yourself for who you are, and realize that the person you are is as much worthy of the happy life you desire as everyone else is. I can't delete facebook because I have family that lives far away + I have a business page, but If I could delete Facebook I would!

  15. this video hit me on a deeper level, today starts my first day of my social media detox. i went to the gym today, and i left my phone in the car. I was able to fully focus on my workout, but i couldn't help but notice all the other cell phone zombies wondering around the gym, its almost as if people are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts, they need a distraction.

  16. Whenever I think of social media I think of the experience and atmosphere that one can miss out on. The internet used to be a decentralized platform that you accessed every so often. Now it is in your pocket and is really annoying. It takes away from the memories and good emotions that we feel as humans. In my opinion, it is way more fun to have a party, go out, etc and enjoy the present and the atmosphere without documenting it to a bunch of people who won't care 3 minutes from now. Think of all those useless photos and likes you have. They don't mean anything. What really means something is actually attaining real friends and true experiences that can be passed on through word of mouth or by an ACTUAL digital camera which is way more beneficial and exciting. Screw Instagram and screw Snapchat. They're a waste of your time. Take that from someone who got hundreds of likes. Go out and make real memories before its too late. Peace 🙂

  17. Very important topic. I cant get my friends to speak anymore? As much as i like my private time, i hope i never become a virtual zombie.

  18. Any theories about the impacts of social media to the mental health for our research? Please comment down bellow, thank you!

  19. This so amazing I hope I can show to the whole world so that they understands that we are all the same.
    Sometimes others look happy in a photo but this doesn’t mean that they don’t pass by anxiety or depression.
    They do pass through that due to comparing to others.
    So we actually need to learn how to love ourselves and how to accept our life while going on social media in order not to get jealous who are equal to us the only difference Is that they worked so so so so hard, they pushed their butts to get into that.
    So we learn from each other’s experience.
    In a world where there is no luck but hard work…

  20. Social media stressors:
    1. The highlight reel – only seeing the "good" parts of life
    2. Social currency – likes and comments = attributing value to self/others
    3. Fear of missing out – social anxiety of being "out of the loop"
    4. Online harassment – mean comments can lead to bigger issues

    4 steps to social media wellness:
    1. Recognize the problem
    2. Audit your social media diet
    3. Create a better online experience
    4. Model good behavior


  21. Today I will delete and block my social media accounts from my phone. I definetly have felt sad , envious, jealously, and poor self esteem from lack of friends on facebook, or even RL. I love facebook, but I cant put up with it anymore.

  22. I totally agree with that
    I quit my insta 3 years ago because I needed to focus on my studyings, family and only close friends.
    I don’t want to go back now anymore;
    but whenever I’m in a party my friends ask me to join and don’t get my reasons:/
    so i’m always confused about what to do when it comes to getting back to social media 😑😬

  23. The only thing I slightly disagree with is her ending remarks. I personally feel that unless you are a business a platform like Instagram has almost no positive effects. It is built on the most narcissistic of traits and hides everyone’s reality. All it is is people mining for likes

  24. I deleted Instagram and Facebook awhile ago because I realized that this was happening to me and distracting me from my real issues

  25. I have YouTube and occasionally post on Instagram, but it's not a personal account so im not posting pictures of myself. The main thing I've always hated with social media is that we can never have normal re connections with people because we already know what's going on in their lives because they update on every little thing, so it makes it awkward on what questions to ask because you already know about their job, the engagement, baby, house..ect ect.. Ieft twitter because its the most pointless one and its extremely toxic. I left Facebook because of the passive aggressive political posts and having a magnifying glass to everyone's life. I wanted to be in the unknown, know about my friends through old school face to face or phone call or even personal text message…not through a phone notification. I have a friend who left Facebook 2 years ago and he gave a post on why he was leaving…mostly because of the political posts and he wanted to have a family and friend oriented life without the need to document those things to the internet. At first I wondered why he couldn't just balance social media use and then I realized that he has every right to want privacy away from the internet. I didn't get it at the time, but now I do.

  26. Sometimes you just need to let go of social media because it really does get to you! Looking at what others have and comparing yourself to them is soo draining especially seeing people get married, having kids, and their carrers all set. I've gone 5 months without facebook and it feels like I'm not missing out tbh. Im focusing on what matters most and thats myself!

  27. I quit facebook.. i was actually thinking about what clothes to buy just for pictures.
    Like u had to prove smth to ppl u dont even know

  28. I don't use social media and I actually spend quality time with my family and do things I love. No negative thoughts and I am confident being my true self without anyone's validation.

  29. I fell and broke my big toe because of the phone and hurt other leg. It was distracting me. New phone mom bought me yesterday

  30. You are doing well. For the keyword: 'social media' you currently rank #8. I can show you what other keywords you rank for. Would you like to know?

  31. So many attention whores on Facebook, Instagram. Look at me, like my post, me, me, me.

    Real friends call, meet up…

    Fakefriends just like like or even no like.

    I hate FB, it makes me feel bad. I don't use it anymore, no more post. Every time I go there, those posts make me sick.

  32. I doubt that you actually miss out on something if you don't use social media. If your friends post something on social media it is already too late to be a part of it.
    It just gives you the feeling that you are missing out because people post just about everything they ever do and obviously you are not gonna be a part of everything and that is perfectly normal.
    As long as you stay in contact with your friends either in real life or any messenger you are gonna be fine.

  33. I got rid of my social media in 2014. Best feeling ever!!! I've been traveling to different countries every 4 months and love it!!

  34. Imagine writing a whole essay on this without finishing the video because you wanted to share your thoughts on it before you forgot about it. Wasting a lot of time you should had spent on homework, and then reaching the plot twist
    I am hurt and destroyed by my own mistakes

  35. I used to love painting and drawing and I didnt have an audience it was just for me.When facebook came to my life I stopped painting and drawing forever.Definitely need to delete facebook.I already got rid of instagram I only meed to delete facebook now

  36. watching this has made me sort out my screen time settings (currently i spend around 5–7 hours on social media a day) to put limits on them. it doesn’t sound bad and i already do use it for positive things such as online instagram therapists and to educate myself on news and politics, but it’s so nice to go out and spend time away from my phone.

  37. This year has really seen me struggle w my relationship w social media. I finally permanently left Twitter and temporarily disabled my Instagram (will still be keeping it solely for the purpose of memories!) – deleted both apps off my phone. It's only been about 3 weeks proper cold turkey, but it's been great. This is a pretty big deal for me personally so I'm pretty happy about my current accomplishments :))

  38. Yo renuncie a fb sin renunciar a facebook, cree una cuenta con un nombre falso y lo uso para ver memes, o mangas pero nunca para conversar, es lindo no sentir la ansiedad de rechazar solicitudes de personas de tu entorno y ser libre para expresarte sin miedo a ser insultado, puedo ser yo misma sin ser yo misma

  39. I'm quit IG, and FB too. I never use snapchat or etc. But, sonetimes, i feel insecure about whatsapp story. Oh but i really needs whatsapp to communication it's very efficient way to save your telecommunication fee

  40. I've been fighting with a family member for years over this… All she dos is just post pics and asks for likesharts.
    Every time i try to talk to her about it she just ignores the subject and gets mad AF.

    Most of her friends are shallow, they all live for the likes, she will stay friends with them only for more likes, more harts, even if they will ditch her in the middle of the road (and they did, many times). But for her, it's worth it, they get more likes and she gets more like for going out with them.

  41. I logged out and uninstalled FB & Instagram from my phone 1 week ago. My goal was 1 week without FB & Instagram. I know that it was a bit hard at first. When i logged out from these social media, somehow i feel less depressed than before. I don't need to compare my life to other people's life and i don't to be jealous of their life. I realize that i addicted to facebook in last 8 years. It doesn't mean i want to delete my account permanently, i just want to take a break from facebook and instagram. Maybe i only check my FB or my Instagram 1 or 2 times in 1 week, and only open it via desktop.

  42. Love this – life is all about preventative strategies. I did an article/blog/video on focusing on preventing depression and was attacked by other mental health professionals! Sometimes, I wonder if people attack what they don't understand. The more we talk about the effects of social media, the more awareness we get and the less defensive people will be around changing their behaviors…hopefully. Thanks for the information and the step-by-step guidelines to practicing "safe social". *fist bump

  43. Also, social media contributes to the newer generation´s short attention span. Ex: Limiting how many words you can use in your bio, caption or post and content creators breaking up one forty five minute video into three fifteen minute videos (or even nine five minute videos.) The response to this comment may be ¨Yeah because I don´t want to watch a forty five minute video¨ or ¨Yeah because I get bored when I video is that long.¨ My response to this is this: ¨What do you think is doing this to you?¨ ¨Were you like this before social media¨ My guess is most likely not.

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