Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Notoriously becoming the hub for instant viewership and validation in non-chronological order, Instagram is slowly but surely becoming a click away from reverting to that concept.
Newly implementing an attempt to no longer have its audience view others virtual likes nor the amount of times another person's video has been viewed, the social media platform has recently adapted to this change in seven countries including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.
As this is is underway, America may be next as the Instagram spokesperson alluded, “we’re expanding the test to a number of countries to get a better sense of how the experience resonates with Instagram’s global community.”
Now you may be under the assumption as to why. According to an Instagram spokesperson via TIME magazine, “we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
However, overtime likes have been proven to be more detrimental than anticipated. According to TIME Magazine, “the Royal Society for Public Health, described Instagram as being the social media platform that was the most detrimental to young people’s mental health.”
Furthermore, studies have unfortunately shown just that. In 2017, psychologists Anthony Burrow and Nicolette Rainone suggested that the number of virtual likes we receive does, in fact, negatively alter our self-perception, as we rely heavily on validation from others to satisfy our psychological needs; acceptance and affirmation being met.
That being said, to an extent, we should not look toward social media platforms to strengthen or weaken our self-perception.
People tend to evaluate how they think they’d be perceived via social media based on comparing themselves to others to determine their personal and social worth. This can lead to oneself having negative perceptions about themselves that are rooted in unrealistic or inaccurate views. In turn, social comparison is heavily influenced by how often the social media platform is used. A recent correlational study done by psychologists Mary Sherlock and Danielle Wagstaff has shown a link between social media use and psychological well-being. The results from the study displayed that the number of times people spent on Instagram, which was more than three hours a day, played a role within their well-being being jeopardized. The aftermath led to depression, body dissatisfaction, high anxiety and poor self-esteem, which does seem quite inaccurate.
Now, despite having these basic human needs of acceptance and validation being met and fulfilled, social media should not be the cause and effect of that. These needs should be met through personal goals, desires and ambitions. As shown, social media can impact one’s self-perception that could impact their well-being, doing more harm than good. More so, social media platforms should not be used excessively, especially as a source of validation, as it could negatively impact one’s psychological well-being.