Digital Pandemic: Low Self-Esteem Compelled by Social Media Use

John Winstanley
John Winstanley
Internet Safety Advocate, Husband, Father, Runner, NOT perfect...and that is o.k.
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My self-esteem was at its lowest during my years where I was caught in the addiction cycle of repeated using, followed by guilt, by shame, encountering triggers, and repeating the cycle all over again.  I didn’t want anybody to know about the problems I was having. My logic was based on the notion that I had gotten myself into this mess…so I was going to get myself out of it. I tried EVERYTHNG, but nothing worked. I was morbidly depressed. I felt like a complete failure….a broken vessel that no one and no thing could repair.    

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What got me out of that pit?

I simply talked to a trusted friend! (For more about this chapter of my life check out our A.L.E.R.T or #LifeHack events)

You are thinking: “Ahem…that’s great John. Good for you…but what does this have to do with Fortsafety’s mission of Inspiring Stronger Communities by Providing Internet Safety Awareness, Training, and Confidence.

Well, to put it Bluntly...

  • I know that having low self-esteem SUCKS!
  • I know that low self-esteem is universal to the human existence.
  • I know that it is one of the major contributors to many neuroses, psychoses, complexes, and ailments.
  • …and studies and our experience at FortSafety show us that we are experiencing a digital pandemic of low self-esteem compelled by social media use.
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"Our kids are drowning in status updates, likes, follows, tweets, memes, clicks, tiktoks, check-ins, and snaps...but dying of thirst for personal connection, identity, belonging and confidence in themselves" #lifehacksfortsafety @fortsafety
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Opposite to the CoVid19  pandemic, the low self-esteem pandemic affects the younger generations more than the older.

Our kids are drowning in status updates, likes, follows, tweets, memes, clicks, tiktoks, check-ins, and snaps…but dying of thirst for personal connection, identity, belonging and confidence in themselves.

Everyday our children receive 1000’s of attacks on their self-esteem via posts, messages, videos, and influencers: because social media has weaponized negative emotions:

  • Envy
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-doubt
  • Fomo (fear of missing out)
  • Eating disorders
  • Paranoia
  • Bullying

….to name a few issues.

Our kids are “digital natives”. They grew up (literally) with an internet capable super computer at their disposal 24/7/365. The digital world is the only world where they feel comfortable (as indicated by the complete over-the-top hissy fit, your teenager does when you take their phones away). Our children are so comfortable in the digital realm that they forget that what they see and experience online is…not…real.

They forget that they are seeing everyone’s sizzle reel. They are only seeing other peoples greatest life moments (heavily filtered and altered for hours before posting) updated or made up on a daily basis. 

Side Note: just once I’d like to see someone posting about cleaning out the litter box, or wiping up cat puke, but that’s just me. End of Side Note. 

Part Two of this blog  is going to unpack this issue in more detail. It will look at the history of self-esteem, the symptoms, the three different types of self-esteem, and the resulting problems caused by low self-esteem.

Part Three of this blog will focus on diffusing the effects of negative social media habits and providing time proven tips, tricks, and hacks on over-coming low self-esteem along with some resources and worksheets.

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