Most of us are guilty of waking up in the morning and instantly flicking through Instagram for ages, then coming across something we don’t like, then getting out of bed in a bad mood. Been there too? Well you’re not the only one.

We can all relate to taking 50 selfies from 50 different angles, making sure the lighting is on point, choosing the perfect filter to complement our selfie which makes us look 50 times better and done, we are Instagram ready. Now we need the likes to prove it.

How Instagram is killing us deep down

We have all experienced a social media breakdown or have come close to it, whether it’s if you didn’t reach 350 likes on a photo, questioning why you don’t look like Kylie Jenner or seeing your ex like some other girls photo. Oh girl, we’ve all been there too!

We have all thought to ourselves at some point that we wish we could just quit social media for a day or so, but have never fully quitted the ‘gram because it is simply so addictive and we just can’t drag ourselves away from it. Despite how it kills our self-esteem and makes us question ourselves, we still stick by the intoxicating app.

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A girl checking her phone. Photograph: Pexels.

You’re not alone

You must’ve read the Guardian article, how super-hot Essena O’Neill, an Australian Insta-famous teen shockingly quit social media as she felt it “contrived perfection made to get attention”. With more than half a million followers and more than 29,000 likes on her photos, that itself is like social media goals. Who would’ve thought someone like herself would be insecure, I mean come on she is HOT.

Shocking stats on the Huffington Post revealed how 60% of University students admit social media has a negative impact on their confidence. This is surprising, as many of us show off our social lives and seemingly show that everything is perfect. It is a distressing statistic which has not been brought to light.

It shows how behind closed doors, social media is negatively affecting our lives and it’s about time we spoke about it. With the rising concern, girls are feeling insecure and unhappy about themselves because of social media. It is extremely worrying as it is affecting our social lives, mentally and emotionally.

We spoke to some girls about the how the issue has a negative impact on their day-to-day lives.

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A girl on her phone checking Instagram. Photograph: Pexels.

 

 Zara Ali, 21: “Why I quit social media for good and it was the best decision of my life”

Why I quit social media for good and it was the best decision of my life and I have not looked back since. I was on ‘Insta’ for a couple of years, predominantly through my time at University, because everyone apart from me had every type of social media. I remember my friends would get 200 likes and at times they wouldn’t like my photo. I would get ridiculously jealous and start over thinking about why my own friends don’t like my photos and why they get so many likes and I only get 32?

It made me feel really envious towards my friends for all the bad and stupid reasons, at times I would ignore them because of it. It just made me so angry, it felt as if I wasn’t socially accepted. When I uploaded a photo I would just do it to get ‘likes’ and if I didn’t get loads of likes I would delete the photo and upload it another time until it got a good amount of likes. The amount of times I would check my phone to check if people had liked my photo was ridiculous.

It got to a point in my life, where I cried actual tears because I got 15 likes on a photo, I then realised how sad and pathetic I looked and decided that Instagram wasn’t for me. I was wasting so much time trying to find acceptance by people liking my photo. I started to set my priorities straight, I deleted ‘IG’ and my whole mind set felt a lot clearer.

Roberta Caro, 19: “I hated seeing my ex like girls photos, so I deleted Instagram”

Me and my ex broke up and Instagram didn’t help. He was constantly liking lots of girls’ pictures and it made me feel really insecure about myself. It made me think that I wasn’t good enough for him and honestly, it made me feel ugly. I had enough and I hated seeing my ex like other girls photos, so I deleted Instagram.

After being accepted to study at Birmingham University, I decided to go on Instagram again to upload photos of my journey at University. This time round I made sure I blocked my ex, that way nothing would bother me in the future.

Karishma Shah, 22: “Instagram represents all that is wrong with this generation”

Instagram is a superficial world which extenuates and glamourizes materialism. I believe it is a fake world where everyone on it, pretends to be something they’re not. It makes you feel down about yourself and makes you feel like you need the luxurious things in life. Instagram represents all that is wrong with this generation and how everyone is self-centred and obnoxious.

When I was on Instagram, I genuinely felt suffocated by the rubbish on there, it’s a way for people to show off and make people feel bad about their lives. Leaving Instagram has genuinely been the best decision I made, it has made me feel so much more care free and not feel restricted in everyday life. Whereas when I was on Instagram I felt I had to follow certain trends and act a certain way. For example, before I would go out I would take 30 photos or even more and then find myself looking at the mirror and hating the way I look. It was so bad that I would cancel plans with my friends because I started to feel really low about myself. Looking back, I was in such unhealthy place in my life because personally I feel Instagram is such an unhealthy place.

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Young girl looking at herself in the mirror. Photograph: Pexels.

Chloe Connell, 21 “I never thought my obsession for Bieber would get me so much hate on Insta”

There is no denying I am Justin Biebers number one fan! I have loved him since I was 15 and I have been to all of his concerts and tours in the UK. I would even stand outside his hotel in London just to see him. But, I never thought my obsession for Bieber would get me so much hate on Insta.

Basically, I had been waiting for Justin outside his hotel with loads of other fans and paparazzi, with everyone waiting for him to make an appearance. It was really busy and as soon as he came out, I ran towards him and it was madness, security was everywhere and paparazzi were going crazy over him. I shouted “I love you Justin” and I was captured in a Paparazzi shot. Despite it not being the most attractive photo, I still got in a photo with him, so my dreams came true. I decided to upload the picture on Instagram and in a matter of 5 minutes, I received hate from almost 30,000 people. I received tons of death threats and hate towards me from his fans, it was shocking.

I decided to make my account private so random people could not see my posts on Instagram and not send me hate mail. It was so scary to receive death threats and so much hate by people, just by uploading an innocent photo, so it really showed me that I should keep my account private as anyone can access your feed, which is a really dangerous thing.

Let’s talk about it

We never have the conversation with our girls about how you are feeling rubbish because you only got 12 likes on a photo or how your feeling jealous and envious towards another girl who got 500 likes with an ‘amazing body’.

It makes us think, why is it such a taboo subject in this generation? It almost feels as if it is not socially acceptable to talk about feeling anxious on Instagram as if people are going to judge you and think it’s weird?!

The stories by the girls show how important it is to be aware of signs how Instagram is having an effect on your everyday life, so here are some tips from the girls how to stay comfortable and confident on Instagram.

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Chloe Connell with Justin Bieber. Photograph: Chloe Connell.

Here are some tips on how to stay happy on IG:

  1. Consume social media, don’t let it consume you.                                                       Don’t lose yourself and don’t let it influence you. Remember it is just an online world with little meaning – Chloe Connell.
  2.  Do Instagram for YOURSELF. Don’t upload photos to please people or because everyone else is doing it or for likes, because it will lead to unhealthy mind set. Think of Instagram as your very own memory wall – Roberta Caro.

     

  3. Do not show. If you don’t want certain pictures to be shown on your search feed, just simply click on the photo notifications symbol and click ‘See fewer posts like this’ – Zara Ali.

     

  4. Take a break. If you need some time out, delete the app. You will get straight back on to it when you’re ready – Karishma Shah.

     

    For more tips and tricks on how to stay social media savvy, give us a follow and keep up to date with all the exclusive stories on:

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