I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about what I was posting when I first joined social media, but the pressure began when I turned 14.
I felt this sudden want to impress the people who followed me. I wanted my feed to appear as if it was super care free, despite it being the exact opposite.
The main impact of social media has been on my body image, which is still something that affects me now.
At 15, I began editing my pictures to make myself look skinnier or have a smaller waist – the scary part is that it became routine, feeling like something I just had to do.
Following models and fitness influencers, whose photos I would scroll through and compare myself to, became a habit. Looking back, it was ridiculous. I hadn’t even properly hit puberty yet, and I was comparing myself to women in their 20s using the best angles and lighting that they possibly could.
I have pictures of my friends and I smiling in restaurants that I remember being so worried about going to because I was having issues with disordered eating at the time. Looking at them, you wouldn’t have any idea about how unhappy I was.
Over the last year I’ve made an effort to make my social media a more positive place. I’ve found that asking myself why I actually follow certain people or accounts has really helped me to realise what was good for me and what wasn’t.
I would, however, be lying if I said I don’t still catch myself scrolling, comparing myself and my life to others – but it is something I really hope I can continue to work on.
University student, now aged 19