The advent of social networking sites (SNS) revolutionized how people interact online.
Precisely, it made connections faster, intimate, and convenient. With social media, users can
keep in touch with their friends and be informed about their life (Siddiqui & Singh, 2016).
Strangely, research studies findings indicate that dependency of SNSs as a medium of social
interaction adversely affects one’s mental health and well-being. The pressure to present the
ideal version of oneself negatively impacts how one uses introspection, self-observation, and
other people’s reactions to know themselves. Thus, significantly interfering with the self-
Most social media users, due to the pressure of presenting an ideal self, opt for false self-
presentation resulting to dire consequences on their self-self-knowledge process. The cognitive
imbalance therein affects individual introspection, self-observation and the perception of other
people’s reaction to their ideal self. Consequentially, they develop mental health issues,
including anxiety, depression, and stress. Mainly because of the guilt of false self-presentation.
According to a study conducted by Wright, White, & Obst (2018) noted that falsified
presentation of oneself corrupts introspection. Thus, people develop an inclination to view
themselves in a socially appealing manner, which affects their mental state. The biased
perception of themselves significantly makes them insecure about traits they deem socially
unappealing(Wright, White, & Obst, 2018). Hence, they tend to obsess over these traits leading
to depressive tendencies and stress. More so, it lowers their level of self-confidence to create
meaningful real-life connections for fear of rejection by their friends. The user, as a result of
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false self-presentation, lives in denial, unable to embrace who they are, and understand
False self-presentation adversely affects the self-observation process, causing an
individual to see no real value in their actual self. Notably, the thought processes of self-
observation become highly sensitive to their socially unappealing traits or circumstances in their
life. As a result, they develop wrong and negative attitudes towards themselves that further affect
their psychological stability Sharma, Chaturvedi, & Mellor (2017) asserts that social media users
are more vulnerable to biased self-observation behavioral patterns compared to non-users.
Besides, they become prone to self-destructive behavior because they see misconstrue their real-
worth based on the standards of others (Sharma, Chaturvedi, & Mellor, 2017). The interference
of the self-knowledge process, as a consequence of over-reliance on social media, thus, becomes
a causal factor for lack of self-worth, suicidal behavior, and depression.
Currently, emoji reaction features in social media platforms undermine the self-
knowledge process. Many users understand themselves by evaluating people’s reactions to their
ideal self. Social media users tend to get attached to the responses of people to their social image
and tend to use it as a way of understanding themselves. This new dimension of self-knowledge
makes them vulnerable to inaccurate and biased opinions that do not reflect their real selves. As
a result, when they face rejection or other forms of harsh reaction, the users develop mental
health issues, even when these reactions are false and deceitful (Vogel, Rose, Roberts, & Eckles,
2014). Social media reactions, therefore, by replacing the actual cognitive processes of self-
knowledge, become a controlling factor in how one understands themselves in the broader
context of society.
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Although the invention of social media was primarily to enhance social connection, it has
become a tool for deception, and as research shows, become detrimental to meaningful face-to-
face relationships. Falsified self-presentation, exaggerated personalities, and deceptive
impressions on social media platforms are a critical causal factor of low self-esteem (Toma,
2016). Therefore, most social media users have low self-confidence when meeting new people
face-to-face. The traditional forms of social interactions focused on both physical and cognitive
attributes to judge an individual. However, social media cause self-misperceptions- one of the
critical causes of low self-confidence because it only focuses on the superficial aspects of human
character. According to a research study conducted by Twomey & O'Reilly (2017), the erosion
of the authentic-self increases makes people insecure, therefore, significantly affecting their self-
esteem. People fear face-to-face social interactions because it may reveal the flaws hidden by
their ideal self-presentation. For example, image filter technology used to edit photos posted on
social media platforms may exaggerate one’s real character. So, they become reluctant to attend
face to face meetings to avoid rejection.
Social media only shows you the person how others perceive your physical self,
therefore, failing to provide an individual with different personality-related views of how people
perceive them. Mainly, SNSs only reveal individual perceptions of your aesthetic self. Mostly,
people focus on how they see and not your cognitive character and behavior. People in social
media platforms do not offer information about how you relate with others. Interpersonal
characteristics and skills are an elemental aspect of self-knowledge (Aronson, Wilson, Akert &
Sommers, 2019). Essentially, it helps you to construct an accurate hypothesis of the actual value
of your real-life relationships with other people. This information is valuable because it helps
one to further understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, social media does provide
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information about the admirable traits that you possess. These are important to advance one’s
understanding of the positive elements and the role they play to add value to the individual self
and others in society.
To conclude, social media use inhibits the self-knowledge process. It also affects once
cognitive balance leading to multiple mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress.
In light of these observations, it is imminent to consider intervention strategies, including
increased policy regulation, to ensure responsible social media use. Also, public awareness
campaigns on the negative impacts of technology will be imminent to help mitigate the high
risks associated with social media use.
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Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., Akert, R. M., & Sommers, S. R. (Eds.). (2019). Social psychology
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Sharma, M., Chaturvedi, S., & Mellor, D. (2017). Facebook storytelling: Implications for
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Twomey, C., & O'Reilly, G. (2017). Associations of Self-Presentation on Facebook with Mental
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Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social media, social comparison,
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Wright, E. J., White, K. M., & Obst, P. L. (2018). Facebook False Self-Presentation Behaviors
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