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The psychological effect Instagram has on the younger generation and its correlation to poor body image
The modern world, characterized by extensive use of technology in various processes, including communication, is experiencing tremendous changes in individual and organizational discovery on the image. Individuals globally have discovered several ways of perceiving themselves when using social media channels. One of the leading aspects is pegged on image perception and self-esteem determination. The revelation about the correlation between the perceived image and the actual image of individuals brings in the interpretation of self-esteem among individuals who use social media to attain certain social status. The body image has been the center of all inner interpretation among individuals. Notably, digital media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn influences human psychology leading to a personalized perception about self and immediate milieu. The youth are at the center of digitization and discovery, particularly on their body image, self-esteem, and the attributed perception. The research paper will examine how Instagram influences its users’ body image pegged on personal perception and its relationship with self-esteem.
Youths spend more time viewing their peers’ images that undermine their bodies’ perception (Baker et al., 2019). The psychological impact associated with Instagram involves the platform’s ability to change the way individuals perceive themselves regarding their peers’ social standards. People have different tastes, preferences, and life choices, which solemnly rely on the family’s financial potential and social standing. It follows that the youths who do not match their peers’ lives perceive their families negatively. They further view themselves as unsuccessful and unmatched in society. For example, during the December holidays, the peers’ vocational images intimidate others, leading to admiring to live such a remarkable life and enjoy the moments. However, such fantasies remain unfulfilled because of the social and economic standing. The inability to stretch to such pleasures in life leads to reduced appeal to oneself. It contributes to low self-esteem (Rounsefell et al., 2020). The situation usually is worrying when the affected individuals are not ready to focus on productive activities. As such, Instagram usage, which is sometimes addictive, contributes to a negative body image pegged on an individual’s perception about success and good life. However, most Instagram users reduce their judgment and incline their measurement of good living standards and social standing to a status devoid of virtues and societal values. It implies that Instagram users create their definition of values and virtues. It leads to self-deception, wrong perception, and low self-esteem, all pegged on the modern world’s realities.
Furthermore, an individual’s emotional attitude is undermined by the shared images on Instagram. An individual’s potential and capability are well defined by the comparison done in the daily lives (Malighetti et al., 2020). Attributes such as confidence in individuals manifest when encouraged more by what they see in the images. It implies that such individuals will not be bullied to the perceived success as displayed on Instagram. It follows that these individuals gain more in their self-esteem. Notably, the viewing and close evaluation of Instagram stories, images, and videos significantly contribute to developing a firm emotional attachment leading to emotional responses from the viewers. The emotional responses include a competition to look good by acquiring expensive clothing, jealousy from those who cannot afford to meet the standards, and competition among viewers for attention. The number of comments and likes measures attention after posting.
When a young lady is trying to compete with another who has posted a picture of a unique dress code, her emotional attitude will be negatively influenced. On the other hand, if she has a unique dressing code and appearance, she will be positively influenced by knowing that several peers admire the outfit and want to copy it (Tiggemann & Velissaris, 2020). Notably, an individual’s social and economic standing influences others’ perceptions who follow up the Instagram presentations and body image manipulations. Thus, it makes it easier to influence the way people think about their potential and skills and the degree of their efforts.
The youth have found themselves in a complex situation when trying to satisfy their body image pegged on what they observe. The Instagram image posts create anxiety attributed to social pressure aimed at meeting the body image inspirations. The appreciation of selfie photos has killed the culture of appreciating real people. It follows that people have developed a sense of manipulating the body image through lotion and extras applications before posting the images (Ahadzadeh et al., 2017). It implies that the individuals are aware of the faked images, which disturbs the viewers’ peace. In essence, the youth sometimes are competing for faked-up body images willingly or unwillingly. The pursuit of meeting the desires of self-ego and body image contributes to the youth’s pressure to seek peer validation. In cases where it does not come as anticipated, it leads to low self-esteem. Essentially, youths globally seek social media validation to attain self-satisfaction. Such tendency has made it hard to attain individual satisfaction and perception among the youth.
The current study on how women perceived their potential and life skills showed a high degree of compromise and discrepancy (Casale et al., 2019). Women were engaged in a survey after taking photos of themselves. Thought evaluation was done pegged on the photos. It focused on how they appeared instead of their personality. It evidently shows how individuals’ ability is undermined because the focus is on the external body appearance. It means that the internal potential and motive are not attended, especially for young women. The understanding confirms how women undermine their abilities which are sometimes internally ascribed at the expense of their physical outlook.
Instagram posting undermines how individuals view their own life. Viewing and evaluating the body images posted breeds an emotional attachment that negatively and positively influences the youth in equal measure. Many young people change their emotional attitude to fit in a prevailing situation, particularly after viewing a particular body image post on Instagram. Further, the youths will then develop the urge to compete for perfection. When the standards are too high to attain, those on the receiving end develop low self-esteem. While those that compete effectively with what they view on Instagram posts develop a sense of increased self-esteem. Essentially, the change in personality at the expense of physical appearance explains the overall impact of social media among young people relative to self-perception and self-esteem.
Ahadzadeh, A. S., Sharif, S. P., & Ong, F. S. (2017). Self-schema and self-discrepancy mediate the influence of Instagram usage on body image satisfaction among youth. Computers in Human Behavior, 68, 8-16.
Baker, N., Ferszt, G., & Breines, J. G. (2019). A qualitative study exploring female college students’ Instagram use and body image. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and social networking, 22(4), 277-282.
Casale, S., Gemelli, G., Calosi, C., Giangrasso, B., & Fioravanti, G. (2019). Multiple exposure to appearance-focused real accounts on Instagram: Effects on body image among both genders. Current Psychology, 1-10.
Malighetti, C., Sciara, S., Chirico, A., & Riva, G. (2020). Emotional Expression of# body on Instagram. Social Media+ Society, 6(2), 2056305120924771.
Rounsefell, K., Gibson, S., McLean, S., Blair, M., Molenaar, A., Brennan, L., … & McCaffrey, T. A. (2020). Social media, body image and food choices in healthy young adults: A mixed methods systematic review. Nutrition & Dietetics, 77(1), 19-40.
Tiggemann, M., & Velissaris, V. G. (2020). The effect of viewing challenging “reality check” Instagram comments on women’s body image. Body image, 33, 257-263.
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