Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? | Bailey Parnell | TEDxRyersonU

Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? | Bailey Parnell | TEDxRyersonU


Translator: MARIA TIAKA
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven I’m fat. Wow, I’m fat. She’s only nineteen years old,
what am I doing with my life? Hey! Two likes! Nice. Do I like this photo? Does she really need more likes? I hope I’m going to be invited
to the wedding. One more like, nice! Welcome to the internal monologue
of a typical social media scroll. A monologue that so many
of us have every day, but we don’t think about it,
we don’t talk about it. In fact, many of us
can’t even recognize it happening. I’m Bailey Parnell, and I will discuss
the unintended consequences social media is having
on your mental health. I will show you what’s
stressing you out every day, what it’s doing to you, and how you can craft
a better experience for yourself online. Just over a year ago, my sister and I took a four-day
vacation to Jasper, Alberta. This was the first no-work vacation
I had taken in four years. On this vacation, I was going dark. I was turning on airplane mode,
no email and no social media. The first day there, I was still experiencing
phantom vibration syndrome. That’s where you think
your phone went off, and you check and it didn’t. I was checking incessantly. I was distracted in conversation. I was seeing these gorgeous sights
Jasper had to offer, and my first reaction
was to take out my phone and post it on social. But of course it wasn’t there. The second day was a little bit easier. You might be thinking I’m ridiculous, but I hadn’t been completely
disconnected in over four years. This was practically
a new experience again. It wasn’t until the fourth day I was there that I was finally comfortable
without my phone. I was sitting with my sister,
literally on the side of this mountain, when I started thinking to myself: “What is social media doing to me? What is it doing to my peers?” That was only four days,
and it was anxiety-inducing, it was stressful and it
resulted in withdrawals. That’s when I started to ask questions and have since started
my master’s research into this subject. I’ve worked in social marketing
primarily in higher education for most of my career. That means I work
with a lot of 18- to 24-year-olds, which also happens to be the most active demographic
on social media. The other thing you need to know about me is that I’m young enough
to have grown up with social media, but just old enough to be able
to critically engage with it in a way that twelve-year-old me
probably couldn’t. My life is social media: personally,
professionally and academically. If it was doing this to me,
what was it doing to everyone else? I immediately found out I wasn’t alone. The center for collegiate mental health
found that the top three diagnoses on University campuses
are anxiety, depression and stress. Numerous studies from the US,
Canada, the UK, you name it, have linked this high social media use with these high levels
of anxiety and depression. But the scary thing
is that high social media use is almost everyone I know: my friends, my family, my colleagues. 90% of 18- to 29-year-olds
are on social media. We spend on average
two hours a day there. We don’t even eat for two hours a day. 70% of the Canadian population
is on social media. Our voter turnout isn’t even 70%. Anything we do this often
is worthy of critical observation. Anything we spend this much time doing
has lasting effects on us. So let me introduce you to four of the most common
stressors on social media, that if go unchecked have potential to become
full-blown mental health issues, and this is by no means
an exhaustive list. Number one: the Highlight Reel. Just like in sports, the highlight reel is a collection
of the best and brightest moments. Social media is
our personal highlight reel. It’s where we put up our wins,
or when we look great, or when we are out
with friends and family. But we struggle with insecurity because we compare
our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reels. We are constantly comparing
ourselves to others. Yes, this was happening
before social media, with TV and celebrity, but now it’s happening all the time,
and it’s directly linked to you. A perfect example I came across
in preparation for this talk is my friend on vacation: ‘brb, nap …’ (Laughter) ‘Wait, why can’t I afford a vacation? Why am I just sitting here
in my PJ’s watching Netflix? I want to be on a beach.’ Here’s the thing, I know her very well. I knew this was
out of the ordinary for her. I knew she was typically
drowning in schoolwork. But we think, ‘Who wants to see that?’ The highlights are
what people want to see. In fact, when your highlights do well, you encounter the second
stressor on social media. Which is number two: Social Currency. Just like the dollar, a currency
is literally something we use to attribute value to a good or service. In social media, these likes,
the comments, the shares have become this form of social currency
by which we attribute value to something. In marketing, we call it
the ‘Economy of Attention’. Everything is competing
for your attention, and when you give something a like
or a piece of that finite attention, it becomes a recorded transaction
attributing value. Which is great if you
are selling albums or clothing. The problem is that in our social media, [WE are the product.] We are letting others
attribute value to us. You know someone or are someone
that has taken down a photo because it didn’t take as many likes
as you thought it would. I’ll admit, I’ve been
right there with you. We took our product off the shelf
because it wasn’t selling fast enough. This is changing our sense of identity. We are tying up our self-worth
of what others think about us and then we are quantifying it
for everyone to see. And we are obsessed. We have to get that selfie just right,
and we will take 300 photos to make sure. Then we will wait
for the perfect time to post. We are so obsessed we have biological responses
when we can’t participate. Which leads me to
the third stressor on social media. Number three: F.O.M.O. It’s a light phrase
we’ve all thrown around. F.O.M.O., or the ‘fear of missing out’,
is an actual social anxiety from the fear that you are missing
a potential connection, event, or opportunity. A collection of Canadian Universities
found that 7/10 students said they would get rid of
their social networking accounts if it were not for fear
of being left ‘out of the loop’. Out of curiosity, how many people here have, or have considered
deactivating your social. That’s almost everyone. That F.O.M.O. you feel,
the highlight reels, the social currency, those are all results of a relatively
‘normal’ social media experience. But what if going on social every day
was a terrifying experience? Where you not just
question your self-worth but you question your safety? Perhaps the worst stressor
on social media is number four: Online Harassment. 40% of online adults
have experienced online harassment. 73% have witnessed it. The unfortunate reality is
that it is much worse and much more likely if you are a woman, LGBTQ,
a person of color, muslim – I think you get the point. The problem is that in the news
we are seeing these big stories: The 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who took his life after his roommate
secretly filmed him kissing another guy and outed him on Twitter. We see women like Anita Sarkeesian
being close to shamed of the internet and sent death and rape threats
for sharing their feminism. We see these stories once it is too late. What about the everyday
online harassment? What about that ugly snapchat
you sent your friend with the intention of it being private,
and now it is up on Facebook? ‘And so? It’s just one photo, it’s funny.’ ‘Just one mean comment, not a big deal.’ But when these micro moments
happen over and over again, over time, that’s when we have a macro problem. We have to recognize
these everyday instances as well. Because if they go unchecked
and the effects unnoticed, we are going to have
many more Tyler Clementis. The effects are not always
easy to recognise. How many of you have noticed
the notifications at the top of my screen? How many of you, like me,
are bothered that they’re not checked? Ok, let me check them for you.
(Sighs) Okay! Just one small example
of what this can do to you. Maybe you simply cannot focus
because your notifications are going off the handle,
and you need to check. That need, eventually becomes addiction. Regarding social media,
we are already experiencing impairment similar
to substance dependencies. With every like, you get a shot
of that feel-good chemical, dopamine. You gain more of that social currency.
So what do we do to feel good? We check likes – just one more time. We post – just one more time. We are anxious if we do not have access. Doesn’t that sound like every drug
you have ever heard of? Yeah! So when that grows, when your social media use
goes unconfronted overtime, that’s when we see the rising levels
of anxiety and depression: the F.O.M.O. the distractions,
the highlight reels, the comparisons; It’s a lot, and it’s all the time! The Canadian Association of Mental Health found that grades 7-12 students
who spent two hours a day on social media reported higher levels of anxiety,
depression and suicidal thoughts. For those of you doing the math,
that’s as young as twelve years old. Here is the thing,
I like social media. I do, I love it. Hearing what I’ve said today might make you think
I want you to get off of it. But I don’t. I don’t think it’s going anywhere, so I’m not going to waste my time telling you to spend less time
on social media. Frankly, I don’t think
absence is an option anymore. But that does not mean
you can’t practice ‘safe social’. Everything I have talked about today has nothing and everything to do
with social media. I mean, social media
is neither good nor bad. It’s just the most recent tool we use
to do what we have always done: tell stories and communicate
with each other. You wouldn’t blame Samsung Television
for a bad TV show. Twitter doesn’t make people
write hateful posts. When we talk about
this dark side of social media, what we really talk about
is the dark side of people. That dark side that makes
harassers harass; that insecurity that makes you
take down a photo you were excited to share. That dark side that looks at a picture
of a happy family and wonders why yours does not look like that. So as parents, as educators,
as friends, as bosses this dark side is
what we need to focus on. We need preventative strategies
and coping strategies so that when you have your low days –
because you will – when you’re questioning your self-worth,
you never get as low as Tyler Clementi – and the many others like him. ‘OK, Bailey, how do you find
social media wellness?’ Here’s the good news: Recognising a problem
is the first step to fixing it. So hearing this talk is just that,
step one: recognise the problem. You know the power of suggestion, when someone tells you about something
and you start seeing it everywhere. That’s why awareness is critical. Because now you will at least
be better able to recognise these effects if and when they happen to you. The second thing you are going to do
is audit your social media diet. The same way we monitor
what goes into our mouth, monitor whatever goes
into your head and heart. Ask yourself: ‘Did that Facebook scroll
make me feel better or worse off?’ ‘How many times
do I actually check likes?’ ‘Why am I responding
this way to that photo?’ Then ask yourself if you are
happy with the results. You might be and that’s OK! But if you’re not, move on to step three. Create a better online experience. After my partner did his audit, he realised his self-worth
was too tied up in social media, but particularly celebrities reminding him
of the things he didn’t have. So he unfollowed all brands
and all celebrities. That worked for him. But it might not be celebrities for you. For me, I had to purge
other people off my timeline. Let me tell you a secret. You do not have to follow your ‘friends’. The truth is that sometimes our friends, or the people we have
on Facebook as a courtesy, they just suck online! You find yourself in this
passive-aggressive status war you didn’t even know was happening. Or you are looking at 50 photos
of the same concert from the same angle. (Laughter) If you want to follow artists,
or comedians, or cats, you can do that. The last thing you will do
is model good behaviour. Offline we are taught not to bully
other kids in the playground. We are taught to respect others
and treat them how they deserve. We are taught not to kick others
when they are down, or take pleasure in their downfalls. Social media is a tool. A tool that can be used for good,
for more positive groups, for revolutions, for putting
grumpy cat in Disney movies. (Laughs) Internet is a weird place. Is social media hurting
your mental health? The answer is: it doesn’t have to. Social can tear you down,
yes, or it can lift you up, where you leave feeling better off,
or have an actual laugh-out-loud. Finally, I have 24 hours in a day, if I spend two of those hours
on social media, then I want my experiences to be full
of inspiration, laughs, motivation, and a whole lot of grumpy cat
in Disney movies. Thank you. (Applause)

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “Is Social Media Hurting Your Mental Health? | Bailey Parnell | TEDxRyersonU

  1. I´ve deleted my Instagram accounts, my Twitter, my second YouTube channel, unsubscribed every Newsletter. I start to feel free now.

  2. And haven't you noticed at some point that it is in fact pretty useless to keep an eye on the people you're following? It is so distracting and you even end up feeling jealous, while totally wasting your precious time to unfold your own story, personality, potential…

  3. Taking a vacation off social media. But it's hard since everyone's in there. The change needs to happen in the whole society, but that's impossible. Unless they make instagram illegal or something….

  4. I’m much happier being away from it but then I get sucked backed into it for a bit then I pull back. Vicious cycle 🙁

  5. The only social media I use is YouTube. Sometimes I spend too much time on it, but I believe I can overcome this as well. Stay positive and be mindful!

  6. From 5 years I'm not using any social media this is my Real World, and This is mine forever.
    Real people real World.
    Accept Sad, Happiness, All emotions and still Be Strong. Woooow.
    Thank God who created me in Beautiful World.
    Enjoying Everyday of My Life.

  7. There's no patient nowadays to have thoughtful conversations, social media created this dark side where it became unsociable through public.

    I normally go to this local Deaf meet on a weekly basis, from just being there…I get a sense the communication is very rushed & anxious to come up a subject. I get very exhausted trying to feed off any form of energy to meet everyone there…

  8. True! When you have 7 min to spare, head on over to my channel to watch my latest short film about social media. Would love to know your thoughts.

  9. Facebook is worst for mental health, if one is to be on Facebook one must think the same as everyone else, Therefore, one ends up thinking something other than what one actually thinks, which is not healthy for mental health.

  10. Let's talk about the people who post pictures of them always doing some activity, rock climbing, surfing, skydiving, always travelling. Or the people who constantly post pictures of them and their wife or husband always smiling and out doing something. Those people who strive to look like their lives look perfect are the ones that are most miserable. You don't see the mountain of credit card debt that person is sitting on to go do all those activities they show. You don't see the constant arguing between husband and wife between that selfie. Those who portray to have it all, often have the least. With things like facebook it is easy to edit your life to deliver how you wish to be perceived, it goes hand in hand with photo shopping pictures. Delete this, cover that.. until the image we want people to see projects itself. What about people who post selfies? You don't see the 30 pictures they took that didn't get posted. What about people who constantly check their phone for messages? Imagine thinking you are so important that people will be wanting to communicate with you at all times and as a side effect your own self worth is such that you expect to be bombarded with attention at all times. Then, when there is no message your self importance diminishes.

  11. I just use Line and WhatsApp to keep in touch with my friends. No Instagram and facebook at all anymore or twitter and snapchat.

  12. one year without fb, missing good band's pages and concert dates the most. considering going back only for that reason. deleted instagram a yr ago too. not missing it.

  13. I recently went back on Instagram after about a year of never going on it. I’ve not been in school classes for 1 year and a half due to mental health reasons. Seeing tons of posts of my classmates partying and hanging out makes me so upset, I think “Why am I like this?” “This is what I should be doing”. Because my social anxiety and autism have worsened, I’m never really out so I’ve gained weight, I hate my body and seeing my friends who are thin and posting pictures in their crop tops and bikinis makes me so insecure. It’s in no way their fault, and they’re living the teenage life, but being on the sidelines watching it is so depressing and you feel like a failure. I’m not going on Instagram again, at least for now.

  14. This very pretty lady—a near Jessica Chastain doppelgänger—made some good and articulate, though if not obvious by now, points. We could all do well to heed this advice, even if just scaling back and having more moments of real life and solace.

  15. I feel like if I stay on social media then I could one day be famous and get money like those other girls…I feel like I need to stay incase i get lucky one day with my artwork…which by far not alot of ppl notices 😟

  16. I'm sorry… but the sound of your dry mouth coming through the microphone was just too much for me to handle

  17. I'm glad that I haven't been addicted to social media….I just scroll around facebook…and rairy post anything any more….or like anything….

  18. I use Facebook but I have learned to limit my time on there to 15 minutes a day or less, I only kept it to keep in touch with long distance friends and family. I also use fb to sign petitions for important causes like saving wildlife and animals. I removed the apps from my phone so I’m not constantly getting notifications from fb! I do spend a lot of time on YouTube watching Ted talks, guitar lessons and all kinds of educational videos. It’s ok to have social media but limit time on there. Time is the most precious thing we have, instead of spending hours on social media we should try to spend that time on actually spending time with friends and family, pets or working on our goals and hobbies! We have a lot of serious issues going on in the world, many good causes need our attention like ocean cleanup, endangered wildlife, and many other causes that desperately need our help and attention, social media is taking over society and not only causing mental health issues it’s distracting people from what is truly important!

  19. YES it is! I deactivated my Facebook a month ago, and I feel like I’m actually living my life again. I was on it for 10 years. 10 YEARS!!! I realized how much time I was wasting, scrolling, posting every moment, that I should be enjoying IN the moment. Thank goodness I was raised pre-internet social media. I know how to live life “in the moment” and can be content. Kids now days will never know the meaning of “being content in the moment”. Social media is the demise of mankind!

  20. Excellent video. I have taken steps to be happier and compare myself less to others. I unfollow, I mute some people that do not add value or make me feel somehow.

    Sometimes I delete the app from my phone and feel a sense of calm and peace.

    Do what works for you and do not let social media control or make you feel less than. Remember you are enough, you are valuable and loved.

  21. Even though I am out of social media, I still can run into a lot of forceful stuck ups that just tells me what to agree on.

  22. It's just that i feel bad for myself because i don't have a lot of followers and i lose one of them every day and i don't get a lot of likes,while others do!And because of this i believe that i am not good enough and i have insecurity….Do you have any suggestions?😬😬😬

  23. That really was informative but not stressful, real, relatable, and practical plus the speaker was so good and genuine.

  24. I used to think I was so popular on Facebook because I got loads of likes on my posts…then I realised that the likes were for the food & drink that was in all my photos!.🙄

  25. I appreciate your perspective and effort to bring attention to this issue. I would however draw attention to one part of social media you left out. Social media is not a faceless entity. It is a program constantly modified and altered to make you as attached to it as possible and make you into the product they need. We now have many individuals from these organizations that have addmited to using the data they obtain to change the way society thinks to how they (the organizations) feel society should think. They are more than a place to hang out now. They are actively trying to sway all users to think within the bounds they dictate in order to make you a more compliant and profitable product. I would consider that pretty bad and worthy of abandonment.

  26. I tried countless times to deactivate my fb account ,I started by deleting other social media first like Twitter and Instagram and then I finally did it 2 months ago I deleted my facebook and I've been trying to be more conscious on what I get from the internet .I feel so much better for sure and I wouldn't go back to those social media sites and apps because they are actually stressful just like you applied .

  27. Anita Sarkeeshian got called out for being a con and a fake. She asked for money to fight a make believe monster in order to get money out of sjw types to make videos on video games that oppressed wahmen. She never delivered. She got about $300,000+ and didn't make a legit video, instead she stole gameplay from youtubers and claimed them as her own. Look it up.She is now threatening game developers into hiring her to promote her Rethoric and failing miserably. When your are successful you don't need money or ask for it, you make it happen.

  28. Stop using Instagram 2 years ago because i need to focus with my study. Until now i barely open instagram especially watching stories. It's one of the best feeling ever

  29. I maybe late to watch this, but this is very timely for me. I am currently deactivate on my Personal Facebook, I only use internet for Youtube (Entertainment) and of course work, thats it. and its very healing not totally but slowly day by day and I am loving it, the thing here is you didnt have to take social media a serious place for you because the reality is in front of you real people and real places to go and has a lot to offer not just a picture perfect things on internet that makes us lazy person.

  30. Shouldn't it be "ARE social media…?"? As a non-native speaker of English the lack of coordination between a plural subject (media) and a singular verb(is) seems wrong to me, but it might be right and have an explanation…

  31. Start from 11:07 and go on makes me keeps on replying and replying. thats really deep tho i can finally conscious. great i love this video!

  32. Eh. I don't care about comparing myself to others. I more wirry ablit the FOMO that comes with DM's.

    I have so many gc with different people, I feel like I have to have contact with those gc or else I will miss out on opportunities, especially with online friends.

  33. Curious, does your smartphone also apply to this?
    10-20 years ago when we just had basic cell phones (flip phones) was it still causing stress and anxiety? Or is it only now with smartphones are we constantly checking, on a call all day, having it near you at all times, etc….

  34. I've found that Discord (despite originally being a platform for gamers) is a really great example of what a healthy social media platform can be. When the only way of putting yourself out there is by talking, you find that you have a much better experience since you are not in a constant self-comparison battle with other people. Unlike most social media platforms, Discord doesn't have a likes and followers system, it is simply down to its roots a place where you can connect with people of similar interests and make authentic friendships. I don't have to worry about how popular I am there (since it doesn't matter), and it is safe to say that I am addicted to Discord. But not in the traditional sense that you would expect from an addiction, it just genuinely makes me happy to go on Discord because I get to have real conversations with people, and that's whats important: that healthy connection, not the disconnection that we so often feel on other platforms. If you don't have Discord I encourage you and your friends to try it out, it can be that sweet spot of staying connected to your friends without the negativity that you've been looking for.

  35. For the last 10 years, W E " VE been using social media, and a l o t has been happening.. My mom was right "Let's learn to use it wisely & safely"

  36. 5 days without social media and i’m feeling good!wow,just focusing on my life and myself,i think i will quit social media

  37. It helps me to feel less lonely because I don’t socialise much. I try to look at things which may help my life to improve.

  38. I'd argue that it is relatively easy to quit instagram, snapchat facebook and such. But almost impossible to leave youtube. Youtube is not a social media, more like a social TV

  39. I don't need many friends lol (^_^) because i have also meet fake friends who just did used me so that's why, and i feel much better now without them 🙂 😀 (^_^)

  40. woww I love this and it was really timely that this popped up my YouTube recommend because me and my group decided to focus on mental health awareness for our research project. learned so much today! Thank you!

  41. A few days ago my phone was serviced and I quit social media as long as my phone well back, First I feel lonely bcs my roomate was busy with their own phone and and I'm just looking busy without a phone, Totally I sad bcs my friends only look at their phone all the time. And been while I'm used to without a phone and to be exact also without social media. I feel more meaningful with myself.

  42. I have took the time to go social media free also. I have deactivated my Twitter accounts, which I have not used anyways, but I deleted my instagram app, not my account yet. I want to see how I feel about it and then delete it. It is nice to keep in touch with all the people I have known but is it really worth it to feel like I'm doing nothing? I noticed with social media I was constantly comparing myself to friends. They are already married, have a house, traveling, and I'm in nursing school, at home with my parents and it feels like I am doing nothing. I had to break free from it because I am doing something. It may not be what others are doing but I have to be happy about what I am doing. The only social media I use currently is youtube, reddit (occasionally), facebook I still have but deleted many people who are not involved much in my life and occasionally use as well. and discord (I am in an LDR so it is needed). Other than that, I am trying to decrease my social media usage and improve my mentality. I will be trying to not use my phone for 30 mins upon waking up and 30 mind before bed more.

  43. Apart from her awesome content n style of speaking, I must also acknowledge how she's presented herself. I like d fact that she's dressed sobre (including makeup). Everything matters when you're giving a hard hitting speech. U don't want to divide ppl's attention in any way. It must be solely on d topic. Only then it'll hit us on d right spot. Just like she did in this video. Hats off to her!

  44. SM will affect your attitude towards life if you have negative mindset like envy,judgement Plus you compare yourself to others. My two cents.

  45. True. My mom took my phone for 1 week, my phone is with her on the other city. And on the first day, I was crying like I'm so incomplete. Up until I felt comfortable without using phone, I'm just reading books and cleaning our house.

  46. 4 Stressors on social media:
    1. Highlight reel
    2. Social Currency
    3. F.O.M.O
    4. Online Harassment

    4 Steps to Social Media Wellness
    1. Recognize the problem
    2. Audit your social media diet
    3. Create a better online experience
    4. Model good behaviour

  47. I delete Instagram since one year now ( I spent 13 hours per day) and I will never download it again. I feel better. But I replace it by youtube now 😂 not the same consequences, no photos, no likes system, but still a social media…

  48. THANK YOU SO MUCH! ALMOST EVERY ONE OF THOSE POINTS DIRECTLY RELATED TO HOW I FEEL I FINALLY MADE A FIRM DECISION TO DEACTIVATE MY INSTAGRAM, & I THINK I FEEL BETTER.

  49. i broke my like button omg this is freakin powerful im in love with all of her idea. this helps my thesis so much idk how to say thanks directly to her but thanks :")) loollll <3

  50. social media is the driver of the mental health issues that has lead to the increase in occurrences of mass shootings, change my mind

  51. A LOT has happened since deleting instagram and snapchat. It's amazing. You start to love yourself for who you are, and realize that the person you are is as much worthy of the happy life you desire as everyone else is. I can't delete facebook because I have family that lives far away + I have a business page, but If I could delete Facebook I would!

  52. this video hit me on a deeper level, today starts my first day of my social media detox. i went to the gym today, and i left my phone in the car. I was able to fully focus on my workout, but i couldn't help but notice all the other cell phone zombies wondering around the gym, its almost as if people are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts, they need a distraction.

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