Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Social Media: (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)

The Cause and Effects in Social Media

In the section, you will learn the cause and effects in social media including social networking addiction,psychological effects, and  cyber bullying, and the . Social media is a handy tool when used properly, when it is not used efficiently it can cause a lot of problems. Here are some of the key terms to look out for when reading this chapter.  

Social Networking Addiction
Cyber bullying
Peer pressure
Staged Marketing

Too Much Media

Too much media can be cause a problem. The more social media a person consumes exposes them to more problems such as addiction, cyber bullying, and  exposure to inappropriate content, and psychological effects. Social media is fun, everyone is using snapchat, instagram, YouTube etc. but it starts to become a trend that can consume your daily habits. It’s hard to regulate yourself when using social media, one click turns into another and another and all of the sudden two hours pass by. These habits can quickly result in social networking addiction. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and dozens of others allow people to stay in touch like never before. However, some people spend so much time on these sites that it begins to interfere with their lives. Psychologists are referring to this as a social networking addiction. (Wilson)


Some people are able to handle the social media revolution that is sweeping the planet earth.  However, more and more people are not able to handle it.  Here are some signs to look for that indicate a problem with social media:
1. Spending more than one hour daily at social media sites.  Some would say one should not spend more than half an hour daily.
2. Checking social media sites whenever possible. Some people leave the program open and switch back and forth to it while working, for example.  Others use a phone App to check it while eating lunch with friends, for example.  This is extremely rude, but one observes it a lot.
3.  Over-sharing.  In an age when many people are very concerned about their privacy, some people are sharing very private information or photos with their Facebook friends or on other sites.  A possible reason for this is to gain approval or acknowledgment from peers.  This is sometimes called the need for social affirmation.
4. Interference with work, school performance or your offline social life.  Some studies report that too much time on the social media can cause lower school grades. It can also reduce work performance and even lead to job loss.
5. Withdrawal symptoms if you try to cut down on the time you spend on social media.
 6.  Escapism.  If you are using your time on the social media to avoid conflicts or problems that are occurring in your real life.  You can know this because when you are “down”, you turn to Facebook or another social media site to feel better.
7. Losing sleep to go on social media sites.  It is bad enough if your social networking interferes with your daily work and studies.  However, it is really out of hand if you stay up late at night to check Facebook, for example, or must wake up early to check it in the morning.  Staying up late is one characteristic of those who overuse social networking sites, according to some studies.


Are you addicted to social media?

Take this quiz to see if you need to sharpen up on your social media habits.

1.What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
A.Reach for your phone next to your bed to check Facebook and Twitter
B.Take a shower
C. Hit snooze and sleep

2. How often do you take a picture of your meal and share it on social media?
A. All the time, especially when you go out to eat.
B. Never – it’s so annoying when people do that
C. Only whenever you eat something that looks particularly amazing

3. When a classmate asks how your weekend was, what’s your reaction?
A.You decide to unfollow them on Instagram, because what’s the point if they’re not checking your social updates.
B. Reply that it was nice but don’t go into any detail.
C. You pull out your phone and show them your Instagram pics.

4. How often do you ‘check-in’ on social media?
A. Several times a day.
B. Never. 
C. Only on a Friday or Saturday night when you’re heading to the movies with friends.

5. Has your best friend ever complained that you spend more time on your phone than you do talking to them?
A. Yes, you recently had a fight about that.
B. No, they’re worst than you .
C. Once or twice, but you usually just laugh it off

6. When you hear something funny do you…?
A. Immediately post it on social media site.
B. Laugh.
C. Try to memorise it to post online later.

7. How often do you take selfies?
A. All the time- it’s a good way of checking how you look
B. Umm what’s a selfie?
C. Occasionally you might take one but not everyday

8. Do you know how many friends/followers you have on social media?
A. Yes, of course
B. No, you have no idea actually
C. You could probably give a good estimate

Mostly A’s
You are addicted to social media

Leading hypnotherapist and counsellor Diana Parkinson says: “If you’re constantly checking your phone, tablet or laptop, you’re moving into compulsive or addictive behaviour. If you feel anxious when you're not connected to social media then you have a problem.” 

Diana recommends: “Make time to actually speak on the phone, arrange to meet up with those you care about, share a meal, chat face to face and have a real cuddle you can feel.” 

“Make a golden rule that when out with friends or family there will be no phones at the table. Switch off or put on silent and out of sight. Really take time to notice how much better your life is as you spend more of it in the real world and less in the virtual world.” 

Mostly B’s
You are social media-phobic
Social media isn’t a big deal to yo

Leading hypnotherapist and counsellor Diana Parkinson says: “Social media is now an accepted way for people to communicate and interact and we use it because it gives us instant connection with whatever is happening in the moment.” 

“Social media can give us a real sense of belonging, that we matter because – ‘Look I have lots of friends/followers’. It shows we are an important part of our own little network and it can boost feelings of confidence and self esteem. It’s a place where we can voice our hopes and dreams, ask for help and advice, and where we can feel ‘heard’.”

Mostly C’s
You have a healthy balanced attitude towards social media 

Although at the moment you’re a moderate user of social media, keep tabs on how often you visit these sites and make sure it doesn’t develop into an unhealthy obsession.

Leading hypnotherapist and counsellor Diana Parkinson says: “Social media can make some people feel inadequate, as they compare their ordinary life with someone's ‘look at me having a great time’ postings." 

"So if spending time on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram makes you feel upset or bad about yourself - stop – because you could spiral into depression.” 

Section Overview

Social media can be fun but use your time wisely, and practice healthy social habits. Check the signs if you feel that you might be addicted to social media, the sooner you know the faster you can start healthy habits.


Bullying is often defined as being an aggressive, intentional act or behavior that is carried out by a group or an individual repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself.  Bullying is a form of abuse that is based on an imbalance of power; it can be defined as a systematic abuse of power. In recent years a new form of aggression or bullying has emerged, labeled cyberbullying, in which the aggression occurs through modern technological devices, and specifically mobile phones or the internet. Bullies often fall into peer pressure bullying, where they bully their victims with friends or in groups, as a negative social club.(O’Keeffe)

Research on this topic is still at an early stage of investigation; the phenomenon only appeared a few years ago, as the use of electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones by young people has increased. Although difficult to detect, victims of cyberbullying experience greater levels of depression than face-to-face bullying.
Unlike traditional forms of school bullying, where once the victim gets home they are away from the bullying until the next day, with cyberbullying the victim may continue to receive text messages or emails wherever they are. Another is the potential audience. Cyberbullying can reach particularly large audiences in a peer group compared with the small groups that are the usual audience in traditional bullying. For example, when someone downloads a picture or video clip with intention to embarrass the person in the clip, the audience that may see these clips/videos can be very large. Another common characteristic of cyberbullying is the invisibility of those doing the bullying: cyberbullying is not a face-to-face experience, and (like rumor-spreading) provides those doing the bullying with some degree of “invisibility” and at times anonymity. Following on from this, compared to most traditional bullying, the person carrying out cyberbullying may be less aware or even unaware of the consequences caused by his or her actions. Without such direct feedback there may be fewer opportunities for empathy or remorse and there may also be less opportunity for bystander intervention.(O’Keeffe)

What Causes people to participate in cyberbullying?


What Are Some of the Effects of Cyberbullying?

Get Support

There are many  anti cyberbullying non-profit organizations, who are committed to tackling all forms of digital abuse and bullying online.They work on promoting diversity and inclusion by building a safer, more positive digital community. If you ever experience cyberbullying know that you are not alone, speak up and tell an adult or visit an online support group.


Section Overview

Be on the lookout for cyberbullying, know the signs and speak up right away. If you feel yourself being consumed with texts,ratings, likes, or comments take a break from social media. No matter what your peers say don’t join in on cyberbullying. If it gets worst notify parents, teachers and counselors to put an end to cyberbullying.


Staged Marketing

Social media has been used as a tool for companies to advertise to a mass audience.Some of their strategies have been “masked” or hidden to blend into a picture without directly marketing to you. Social media apps like  Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram have been growing as an online community for five years. It started off as a way to connect and it’s slowly turned into a free platform for advertisement. Social media advertisement can be tricky to detect, because companies don't use their typical artificial ads and models. Instead they target “instafamous”  or popular accounts and pay them to endorse their products. This method is great for companies but is harmful for viewers because it can lead to psychological effects for account holders and viewers.

Staged marketing is when a post includes  brands and companies in their picture, the post is perceived as a typical picture  until the user hovers over the images and brand accounts will appear. Or they will have a link as their caption encouraging you to check out the product.


Via Instagram @Vanessabukowski

The Truth Behind The Perfect Picture

This idea seems like a cheap way to save money and spread the word to the mass media. Find a girl or guy who has a lot of instagram followers and send products for free, and in exchange they will post, tweet, and snap about your product, basically a  modern day brand ambassador. The problem is the pressure. The brand ambassadors are facing pressure of getting the perfect shot,  angle, edit,  and caption. Companies expect a quick turnaround for product posts and exposure, which can become hectic when you have four to five products to post about. 

18-year-old Essena O’Neil, an Australian model and Instagram star famous for promoting brands in pretty pictures Quit social media d is now determined to reveal to her thousands of fans that her "dream life" was really fake. (Murray)

On a photo of her posing in a white gown: "NOT REAL LIFE - I didn't pay for the dress, took countless photos trying to look hot for Instagram, the formal made me feel incredibly alone."

"Deleted over 2,000 photos here today that served no real purpose other than self-promotion. Without realizing, I've spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance."Essena O'Neil wrote in a final post. (Murray)

She clarified that there's "nothing zen about trying to look zen" on a photo of her posing on a yoga mat on the beach, and admitted that she was paid $400 to post a photo of a dress in another image.

"I had the dream life," she said, adding that she'd signed with a modeling agency in Australia and had numerous requests from brands to promote their products in exchange for money. I had half a million people interested in me on [Instagram].I was surrounded by all this wealth and all this fame and all this power and yet they were all miserable, and I had never been more miserable," O'Neill added.

What Social Media Can Do To Self Esteem And Body Image

"Looking at so many flawless, perfect pictures has lowered my self-esteem and promoted insecurity."

According to Common Sense Media's body-image study, Children, Teens, Media, and Body Image, teens who are active online worry a lot about how they're perceived. In fact, body dissatisfaction appears to be on the rise in the United States. A study by the Keep it Real Campaign found that 80 percent of 10-year-old American girls have been on a diet. Examples of negative teen body image are all over the Web. In YouTube videos, kids ask an Internet audience to tell them if they're pretty or ugly. They rate each other on Instagram. They bare themselves and beg for feedback on formspring.me. They edit their selfies and drink in advice about how to improve their online image.

Social media has allowed the public to claim photography as a source of empowerment, in a way that has never been possible before. Psychologists have long focused on the oppressive nature of photography in the media. For example, in print advertising, the camera lens often focuses on women’s bodies instead of their faces (Archer, Iritani, Kimes, & Barrios, 1983). And those bodies are flawless in every regard – perfectly proportioned, extremely thin, without blemishes, and, of course, young and white. Supposedly, this reflects what “we,” as a culture, picture to be beautiful, but in actuality, it reflects what advertisers want us to believe is beautiful. (Gervais)

Exposure to this very narrowly defined viewfinder of beauty profoundly changes how girls and women think and feel about their own bodies (Kilbourne & Pipher, 1999). In fact, through a process referred to as self-objectification (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) women take an outsider’s perspective of their bodies, seeing themselves through the same viewfinder that a photographer might use, with a telephoto lens zoomed in on their “problem” areas. In the short term, this is distracting and promotes shame and anxiety and in the long term, it promotes eating disorders, depression, and sexual dysfunction. Boys and men are not immune. Rather than extreme thinness, however, their internal photographer prompts them to desire leanness and muscularity, using extreme exercise, dieting, and steroids to achieve just the right picture of themselves.

Section Overview

Everyday you open a social media app you are exposed to advertisements, some may be more noticeable than others. Even if the post doesn't directly say it’s an advertisement, if there are links, or tags that feature different brands or companies the post is practicing staged marketing.Don’t let this ruin your fun on social media just be aware their is a different story on the other side of the lens.

Works Cited
Gervais, Sarah, Ph.D. "Does Instagram Promote Positive Body Image? | Psychology Today." Psychologytoday. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

Knorr, Caroline. "Is Social Media Giving Your Teen a Negative Body Image ..." Common Sense Media. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

Murray, Henna. "Instagram Star Essena O'Neill on Quitting Social Media ..." Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

O'Keeffe, Gwenn. "The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and ..." AAP and New Journals Gateway. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

Parkinson, Diana. "HOME - Diana Parkinson." N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

Veasely, Tames. "The Cause and Effects of Cyberbullying: The Cause and ..." N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

Wilson, Lawrence. "Www.drlwilson.com." Social Media Addiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.


Contents of this path:

This page references: