12 News special report: Hidden Messages of Social Media

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 7:06 PM EST
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- “You can’t separate reality behind a screen. And we only get to see a really tiny filtered part of someone’s life,” said Valerie Carpio, a student a Binghamton University. “You don’t know what’s being photoshopped and you don’t know what they’re actually going through.”

In today’s society, it’s tough to find someone not using a device daily. With constant use and access to applications, we can be more inclined to compare ourselves to peers or social media influencers.

“It can kind of create a sense of false reality for you to compare yourself to,” said Carpio.

Another student, like Isabella Ippolito, said there’s a lack of representation for what’s ‘in’ or ‘trendy.’

“There’s not a lot of influencers of more diverse range of body types, said Ippolito.

Experts like Jennifer Wegmann, a lecturer in Health and Wellness Studies at Binghamton University, have looked into how these factors impact a person. She mentioned that social media as a platform is designed to make us compare ourselves with others.

Speaking of social media’s design, Wegmann said it “feeds” us images that it knows we will want to click on.

“All of that is so insidious,” said Wegmann. “I don’t consciously even release or understand what’s happening to me, but I’m internalizing these messages that are being fed to me.”

Wegmann said her best advice is moderation and to focus on the positive aspects of the social media tool.

Registered Dietitian Donna Bates with the Broome County Office for Aging advises consulting a professional if you feel the overwhelming sensation of wanting to change physically, perhaps because of social media.

“...It’s hard to live up to some of the images,” said Bates. “They should first consult a doctor or a dietitian if it’s about food and nutrition. Set action plans like reasonable, achievable action plans and develop some strategies for it.”