Are selfies and likes effecting our mental health?

This generation of teenagers has been over taken by the social media world. A majority of this generation probably has an Instagram, twitter, snapchat or some form of social media. One of the first things I do in the morning is check my Instagram. I can spend countless hours scrolling through all the pictures. When scrolling, you can see a lot of pictures like selfies. There is a sense of accomplishment when receiving a new high of likes on an Instagram picture. Many people try to make their social media look perfect because it is an overall display of someone’s life. All these forms of social media are very hard to ignore because so many people are used to checking these sites constantly.


Image taken from

Penn State graduate students in mass communications preformed an observational study on this topic. They wanted to see how posting selfies can impact someone psychologically like effecting self esteem. Ruoxu Wan and Fan Yang used an online survey to receive their data. The results of this study showed that when people continued to view their selfies or pictures of other people their self esteem was lowered. When people continue to view their pictures and are not getting the feedback they wanted it could negatively effect them. The act of comparing yourself to someone else can cause people to feel disheartened. It might seem like their life is not as great compared to other people. But on the contrary people who desire to be popular and receive positive feedback like getting a lot of likes, can see a improvement in their self esteem.  This observational study only shows a correlational relationship between the two variables. There are many third variables that can contribute to someone’s self esteem.

In addition, Cornell researchers conducted two studies to further gather information on this topic. In the first study they surveyed 250 people who used Facebook and asked them on average how many likes they get on their pictures. In the other study they asked 100 Cornell students to post selfies to a fake website.The people who reported a high amount of likes had a higher a self esteem. But this study found that only people with less purpose felt this change in self esteem. People who believe that they have many other reasons to live did not experience a change in self esteem. This was one of the first studies that took into account purpose levels. A replication of this study could strengthen the results but an overall correlation is present.

In another study University of Michigan researchers found a correlation between social media and narcism. In this study the participants had to take different surveys and answer questions. A majority of the participants in these study were females. This could skew the results and the results may only be representative of females and not males. To improve this study in the future the sample group could randomly select participants so that they are representative of the population. The results showed that people used social media to boost their ego and to make themselves look better. The study was not able to determine if reverse causation is present but it can not be completely ruled out.

Overuse of social media has been correlated with a lower self esteem and an increase in narcism. In all of these studies a casual relationship has not been discovered yet. With society becoming more and more consumed with social media this is likely to be a problem that continues to progress.

4 thoughts on “Are selfies and likes effecting our mental health?

  1. Julia Rose Gallelli


    Your post intrigued me immediately because I am very aware of this problem our generation has with social media. We abuse it- myself included. I love posting pictures of memories I make with my friends. It’s like sharing my own personal journey with everyone else, while I get to see theirs. However, how much more time can we all spend on our phones constantly self-shaming and comparing ourselves to other people who are seemingly perfect?…

    I’ve always wondered how harmful it is for us as individuals to be day-in and day-out stalking other people’s lives on the gram. I don’t think we realize sometimes the effects of criticizing ourselves on an hourly basis. And for that matter, how narcissistic do we look posting selfies here and there?

    The more we interrupt our concentration by stopping to look at our phones, the shorter our attention span gets. I think we should seriously be asking ourselves if likes on the gram are worth harming our ability to focus, accomplish tasks, and/or be happy with who we are and what we look like.

    Something to think about…

    I found an article that discusses the negative effects of Instagram specifically on the minds of individuals. It speaks about stalking and the unhappiness it leads people to feel about their own lives as a result of comparing them to others’. You might find it to be an interesting read…

    Overall, I think your post has sufficient evidence to back up your claim. It is well written, organized, and grabs attention to it. Great job!

  2. Emily Fiacco Tuite

    I enjoyed reading your post because I have always associated social media with self esteem and that too much social media can have an affect on our health. I have some friends who are concerned with posting the perfect picture or getting a certain amount of likes. It is like their self esteem is attached to that number or that picture. Anything lower than that certain number of likes make them have less self confidence. Here is an article about how social media effects your self esteem.

  3. Erin Kelly

    This post is really interesting and also concerning for me. My parents were very against social media for me when I was in high school, and I believe it to have benefited me a lot. The social media age is really dominating every factor of life. Social media even plays a role in our presidential elections. While this can be a useful tool when used properly, your point about narcissism and self esteem makes me wonder what our world will look like when our generation comes into power.

Leave a Reply