Lifestyle

Trapped in the inter web

Social media and self-esteem

Colin Van Es demonstrated the isolation and darkness that social media can bring in one's life in Calgary on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. It can consume one's day and have negative effects on one's life. (Photo by Victoria Cockriell/The Press)

Colin Van Es demonstrated the isolation and darkness that social media can bring in one’s life in Calgary on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. It can consume one’s day and have negative effects on one’s life. (Photo by Victoria Cockriell/The Press)

Social media is the greatest worldwide connection humans have created since the days of mailing letters to each other.

The way people are connecting is faster, easier and more sociable, but at some point, social media starts to influence our real lives.

With the advent of new technologies, it can become increasingly difficult to stay true to oneself. 

Registered psychologist and family counsellor, Keisha Afflick, said that the most efficient way to stay true to oneself is to challenge our thoughts.

“Media is everywhere, that’s where we get our messages from and you can’t get away from it.”

Afflick said the way social media portrays how the perfect woman or man should look can create body image and self-esteem issues, particularly in regards to self-worth, since the media puts a price on the visual aesthetic of how people are supposed to look, instead of focusing on what’s inside.

Since media surrounds our daily lives, messages are going into our subconscious minds unknowingly, she said.

“We hear these messages, and it starts to alter our core beliefs.”

When social media was not a major part of life, Afflick said that when people were bullied at school, it would stay at school.

Now, itís following teens home and onto their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

“There’s no time to relax because you’re always on some kind of electronic [device] that connects you to someone else.”

Afflick said, when in doubt, question your beliefs. Ask yourself a few simple questions that can get to the root of how you are processing outside influences.

Questions like, ‘Is this something I believe in?’ Or, ‘Why does everyone think like that, and do I agree with that?’ Or, ‘Is the way I’m feeling being attached to a crowd or is it my own personal opinion?’

“Itís all about challenging yourself and making sure you know who you are and staying true to that,” said Afflick.

“I think that’s the base of finding who you are and building self-esteem.”

High school student Courtney Henry said she views social media as a way for people to strive to be better, but the goals set out for them are often unrealistic.

“We’re getting bombarded with a new trend and new style every minute that can make anyone increasingly popular if they do it,” said Henry.

“It’s a shame that we have to rely on what others view about ourselves and that we can’t be who we want to be.”

Henry said that as she has grown older, she has seen the shift of how media influences peoples’ lives, from when she was a child to how it influences children now.

Young girls are wearing less clothing, more makeup and have more electronics than she ever did.

“We’re not learning these ideas from teachers at school. [They’re] coming from magazines, television, cell phones [and] apps. 

“People just can’t seem to get away.”

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