Posted on 30 October, 2017

What Effect Does Social Media Have on Our Health?

By Jacob Andreae in Change, Health, Lifestyle, Mental Clarity, Technology What Effect Does Social Media Have on Our Health?

[Image source: Techno FAQ]

“Oh, Rebecca watched my Instagram story! But hey, she didn’t watch them all. Why not?” :-( LOL This is the self-talk that is all too common in today’s world. It might sound funny and we can all probably admit to being a little disappointed when someone sees our message but didn’t reply, or didn’t like our photo, or watch all our videos. But what effect does social media really have on our health?

Social media is maligned for all the negatives. And there are serious and legitimate concerns to those negatives.

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I personally love social media. I’ve always been a bit of tech geek despite never being into computer games. I enjoy the other aspects of technology — the tools people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have given us to connect and play in the 21st century.

But social media has its limitations. Apart from the obvious risks to be aware of, in my opinion, the biggest limitation of social media is what we see. Look at any person with a massive following. They only share what they want you to see. And more often than not, this is of their perfect life. One that would make anyone dream with envy at living a life like theres.

And why would they not. Beautiful pictures get likes and inspiring people get followers. But what effect does that have on you? How does social media effect your health?

Negative Health Effects of Social Media

  • Comparing your reality to someone else's highlight reel is unhealthy
    You usually don’t see the mundane moments in one’s life — that would be boring. And photos that aren’t edited and taken several times to get the right angle aren’t as appealing. It’s important to remember that what you see is usually that persons highlight reel, not their reality.
  • This can lead to a greater quantity and more intense levels of negative emotions 
    When you’re comparing your reality to someone else’s highlight reel, it can be easy to feel despair at why you can’t “catch that break” or “have that success”. This easily leads to feeling of envy and jealousy. Not good emotions to have on a regular basis.
  • Higher levels of sedentary living
    Sitting has already become the new smoking. But as I’ve written before, the issue isn’t with sitting as much as it is with inactivity. Even standing still isn’t much better than sitting. While you’re scrolling through social media, whether sitting or standing, you’re often locked in one position for extended periods of time.
  • Increased back and neck pain
    Social media is made to be addictive. Companies want you on their platform for as long as possible. Therefore, it is easy to lose track of time and remain locked in one position, changing only as you notice how uncomfortable you’ve become from being in that position for too long. Whether you’re sitting or standing, this is often in a hunched position with your head dropped forward.

It’s not all doom and gloom however. There are positives to social media. And social media can effect your health in a positive way.

Positive Health Effects of Social Media

  • Connect with people
    Social media allows you to reconnect with people from your past, connect with people in your present — great if you don’t live in the same town, and you can even connect with new people who may become important in your future. While personal interaction can’t be achieved with today’s online technology, social media allows us to connect in many ways with people who we may never have connected with in the past.
  • Learn new things and develop
    There is a lot of information on social media. If you want to learn how to do a push up properly, perform your first muscle up or learn the guitar, you can find it all online. There is so much free stuff out there teaching you how to do anything. You just have to go and look for it. And if it’s health related content you’re looking for, if it inspires you to eat healthy and move more, and you actually use that information to take action, that’s a great thing

Social media is maligned for all the negatives. And there are serious and legitimate concerns to those negatives. Social media is addictive and it can cause feelings of envy, jealousy, sadness and isolation but there are also positives. Be aware of how much time you spend on social media. Grant yourself an allocated amount of time to scroll through the endless feed of your friends posts or go on with a particular goal in mind. If you want to learn how to play the guitar, know what you want to get out of each time you spend online.


What are your experiences with social media?

About Jacob Andreae

About Jacob Andreae

I write and speak about Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset. 

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What Effect Does Social Media Have on Our Health?A quick start guide to losing weight and staying on track. Learn the strategies I use to eat and move for optimal health. Includes worksheets to enhance your motivation, commitment and discipline, along with a sample eating plan and exercise program.