In 1997 the first social media site, Six Degrees, was created. Little did the population know that this small website was the first of a multi-billion dollar industry.
Social media has grown like a weed in recent times. It has made communication easier and provided an enjoyable pastime for many. However, social media has its downsides and has been shown to have a negative impact if used incorrectly.
Many young avid social media users think of the sentiment that it could have a negative effect on them as preposterous and associate the idea with a close-minded older generation. However, this is not the case. Social media can lead to an increase in narcissism in certain individuals.
Narcissism, meaning having an inflated view of oneself has become a major reason for concern in studies relating to the impacts of social media. According to psychalive.org social media is used in order “to look important, look special and to gain attention and status and self-esteem.”
Social media allows shallow, superficial relationships to prosper. These relationships are where the narcissist flourishes and allows them to fuel their egos.
While some individuals benefit from this gain in self-esteem many take this to an extreme and begin comparing their lives to others. This can contribute to either a boost in narcissism or a loss of self-esteem.
People who over seek attention on social media can become more narcissistic as a result. They develop a thirst for people to brag about their lives and push to appear as amazing as they can to fill their egos.
Although social media certainly plays a part in the rise of narcissism, it is not the only contributing factor. People can develop narcissistic personality traits through many different means and it can’t be said for sure if social media is the only factor in one’s narcissism. Many people develop narcissistic traits as children due to being overpraised, put down or held to unrealistic standards by parents. Also, if a child grows up with narcissistic parents they are more likely to take on their parent’s traits.
I personally believe that social media brings out narcissistic traits but isn’t an underlying reason for narcissism. Narcissism is a diagnosable mental condition and stems from deeper issues than social media use.
Social media should be used with care because if used incorrectly it can become toxic and harmful. Those who use social media should pay attention to their use to make sure it’s not bringing out narcissistic traits in themselves.