Social media usage is becoming more prevalent in recent years. In 2020, it was recorded that there are at least 3.6 billion social media users worldwide, and that is expected to balloon up to 4.41 billion by 2025. This is a massive part of the global population.
Apart from that, it was also observed that the average time spent using social media is 145 minutes a day. That’s a little over two hours every single day. This is evidence that social media is slowly taking over the habits of Internet users. With that being said, their lives are affected by social more than they think.
The first notable internet social media platform was established over 20 years ago, in 1997, where internet users could create online profiles and make friends with other users. Since then, plenty of internet communities sprouted, eventually evolving into the social media we know today.
Since then, researchers have gathered enough data on how social the Internet and social media affect their users. And sure enough, despite all its positive impact, social media usage was proven to negatively affect people.
Social Media and Its Negative Effects
One particular trend that often occurs in different social media platforms is that its users document their lives—what they’re doing, where they’re at, where they’ll be—and posts them for people to see.
This includes all the negative things that are happening in their life too. Social media is for self-expression, after all. This has become the basis of social stress, and how awareness of other people’s stressful lives creates stress within you.
Another thing to note about the adverse effects of social media is its negative effects on self-esteem. As people continue to show off the good life on social media, one cannot help but compare their situations.
With continuous comparison to others, one can slowly fall into the bottomless pits of insecurity and self-consciousness. They then feel that they are not living a good life. With that, they are at risk of higher levels of anxiety, loneliness, and envy.
With that being said, could social media be fuelling the quarter-life crisis phenomenon?
Quarter-Life Crisis: What Is It?
Like a midlife crisis, a quarter-life crisis is characterized as a feeling of being lost in life. This happens among young people in their early to mid-twenties. Young people may feel unsure of what they are doing with their lives and often question their future. It is essentially a time when young people do not know what to do with their lives.
Of course, we would wonder why this happens. Your twenties are supposed to be exciting and adventurous (supposedly). You are young, and the world is yours for the taking. So why do young adults hit a life crisis as early as their age?
Why Does It Happen?
This stage in our lives prompts significant changes. These changes bring stressors that may prove to be overwhelming when not addressed the right way.
Note that most people in their early twenties are still transitioning from the tail-end of their relatively stable teenage years. Big life changes, such as moving out or finding a career path after school, can easily cause someone to feel stressed. This may then lead to a quarter-life crisis.
If one does not deal well with this, they may resort to harmful coping mechanisms such as drug and alcohol abuse. Although there are institutions that help with drug rehabilitation and alcohol detox, we should try to deal with a quarter-life crisis as healthily as possible.
Is Social Media Responsible For This?
We have discussed how social media can negatively affect its users, including a lowered self-esteem. With the majority of social media users being within the age of 18 to 29 years old, could it be possible that social media is partly to blame for a quarter-life crisis?
This is not entirely impossible. Again, social media prompts us to make an upward comparison. This is when people compare themselves to other people whom they perceive as superiors. Too much upward comparison may then be a cause of feelings of insecurity and envy.
These feelings can affect how we perceive ourselves and ultimately what we want to do with life. Social media may contribute to the development of a quarter-life crisis. Social media can be a helpful tool if used correctly. But young people need to understand that there is a world outside social media, and not everything needs to be on social media.
Again, your twenties are supposed to be fun. So don’t be afraid to have fun.