They say too much of anything is bad and so, in like manner, we must do social media in moderation.

It is a common belief that social media can have really negative effects on you such as causing depression, leading to envy, making us feel less in control of our lives or feeling sidelined but how exactly do these things get to us? What is the mechanism that allows social media to have such adverse effects on us, especially women who experts say are most affected by these because we use social media the most?

Research has pointed out that it is not social media in itself that affects us. Rather it is the way we use it. That is right. Some people use social media in a detached manner. They scroll through the posts and people’s statuses without making any of their own. This is what is called social snacking.

The same way that a snack can satisfy you for a while and mask any hunger pang, social snacking is a quick fix. It is more of a distraction from one’s life but before you know it, you begin to compare yourself to the people online. As you go through the posts, you feel sidelined from the rest of the world. It is as though they are going on with their lives, and no one is paying attention to you or your pains. It may even feel like they are deliberately posting those to flaunt their successes in your face. This is where the negative effects of social media set in.

Social media takes you away from reality and makes you start living in dreams, imagining you have things you just can’t afford. Women happen to be the most susceptible to things like this, and it’s very easy for us to take the swing from being that happy young lady to being an unhappy woman who just doesn’t have all she needs to live life, when in reality what you have is more than enough for you.

Social media also makes you think the friends you’ve made up there are enough for you. You live for them, post for them, eat for them, you basically allow them to dictate how you live and what you do. Have you ever tried to post a picture, but stopped because you weren’t looking the best in a group picture? Well, indirectly, social media has made you think the way people view you is better than who you really are.

It is advised that you engage in social media when you are using it. Make posts of your own, and your own free will. Contribute meaningfully to conversations. Hook up with actual, real friends. Have a clear purpose for being online.

Don’t just stay online endlessly. The moment being on social media becomes tiring, scary or just burdensome, I strongly believe it might be time for you to take a step back.