Social Media Affects Self-Esteem

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Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been known to affect a users self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as an individuals overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. The opportunities for adolescents to form and maintain relationships within social media and on the internet has multiplied within the past several years. Valkenburg, Peter, and Schouten (2006), conducted a study to investigate the consequences of friend networking sites for adolescents’ self-esteem and well-being. The researchers conducted an online survey among 881 Dutch adolescents between 10 and 19 years of age. The researchers measured social self-esteem, well-being, use of friend networking sites, frequency of reactions to profiles, and tone of reactions to profiles. The research concluded that 49.3% of the reactions to their profile were predominantly negative and 28.4% of the reactions were predominantly positive. The percentages indicate the correlation between social media and self-esteem. Lets be honest, individuals within my generation seek specific things when “lurking” on an individuals profile. Such as the men in my generation follow and seek women on social media who tend to show a lot more skin than they should. The women on Instagram who do not have any issues bearing skin have a high amount of followers over 1,000. Women lurk on a man’s page seeking for their materialistic items such as cars, money, and the way a man dresses. Instances such as these causes low self-esteem to individuals who do not portray these specific items or lifestyles on social media.

USA Today asked 23 Chicago college students about social media and 20 out of 23 students believed social media caused anxiety or added stress to an individual’s life. One female college student believed that social media adds a lot of pressure to be the perfect person, because that’s how individual’s can make themselves look online. A lot of women on social media with low self-esteem issues show their skin and wear revealing outfits to feel “better” about their own body by taking into account how many likes on Instagram or Facebook they receive. The college students have realized it is easy to portray a different version of themselves on the internet. Individuals believe the number of likes on Facebook/Instagram or retweets on Twitter is used as a tool of verification for acceptance within their group of peers. This can cause a domino effect of problems on an individuals self-esteem. An individual will post photos that are outside their character just to seek approval through likes from their peers. This may boost an individuals self-esteem temporarily, but once he or she logs off social media their self-esteem really hasn’t improved.


1. Valkenbur, P. M., Peter, J., & Shouted, A. P. (2006). Friend Networking Sites and Their Relationship to Adolescents Well-being and Social Self-Esteem. Friend Networking Sites and Their Relationship to Adolescents Well-being and Social Self-Esteem, 9(5), 584-590. Retrieved from’_well-being_and_social_self-esteem/links/5422d8660cf26120b7a63756.pdf

2.Tally, K. (2014, October 21). Does social media affect students self-esteem? Retrieved March 14, 2016, from

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  1. […] We have all heard it before. The youth of today has become too focused on themselves. Social media is a plague that needs to be eradicated. The selfies and the self obsession have become too much. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with showing off your new outfit, a new hairstyle, or a picture of yourself while on vacation, there is something to be said about the growing number of people who have reported a diminished self esteem. […]

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