Social media is a great way to express yourself and to see how your peers are doing. It can expose you to different cultures, grow your connections, update you on life events, give you ideas, and allow you to communicate with old acquaintances without it being direct or awkward. Being said, one should try to maintain a healthy balance when using.

Social media provides many advantages yet it can also pose some potential concerns. Comparison is rarely healthy for anyone, and with the access to unlimited content at one’s fingertips, one can find themselves stumbling across pictures of beautiful women with thousands of followers, a “perfect family”, a successful businessman who travels the world, or a friend who gets more likes on their picture than you do. This in itself is harmless, yet it makes it easier to start comparing ourselves to others and question how we see our self.

Risks of comparison are high in almost anything- whether through tv, sports, celebrity role models, or the people around you. The worldwide popularity of social media just adds to this. One can simply go on their phone at any time and check their Instagram or Facebook account, whether its for thirty seconds or thirty minutes. The ability to easily access social media at any time exposes us to much more content than we would from other outlets. Without us realizing, we will start to subconsiously perceive ourselves based on the posts we see and compare ourselves to other accounts.

So just keep in mind that balance is key. Social media is a great resource, but don’t let it define you. For one, becoming reliant on our technology could cause unhealthy problems in our lives. Furthermore, we may focus more on how we present ourselves online, versus how we actually are in our natural settings. We may care more about posting the fun things we do, then actually sitting back and enjoying the moment. We may miss out on conversations if we are only half-listening while scrolling through our phones. We may feel lower self-esteem because our accounts aren’t as “popular”, aren’t as successful as the people we follow, or because we don’t feel as attractive as the people we follow.

Let’s say you just got an Instagram and start posting pictures of you and your friends. Yet, you come across a classmate’s profile who has hundreds of more followers than you and maintains a “cool-looking” theme. Or imagine a buddy of yours just graduated from college and is now traveling the world, while you are stuck at home occupied with responsibilities. Or your favorite professional athlete posts pictures of his girlfriend and his expensive car all of the time you desire to have that kind of success.

Now, there is nothing wrong with seeing something and wanting it. I’m sure most of us would love to be recognized for our success, travel the world, or have a bunch of likes on our pictures. We can also desire something without envy or comparison.

However, if you find yourself constantly looking at social media for trends, spending hours a day scrolling through posts, caring what your profile looks like, desiring to be like someone else, or wishing you had more followers, than that’s a mindset to consider reflecting on.