8 Dangers of Social Media We’re Not Willing to Admit

It's time to get real.

When I posed a question the other day about possibly leaving social media, I got a response that shocked me. People said it was risky—dangerous even. They told me I shouldn’t leave or change my social media strategy for fear of missing out.

It’s strange how fast we assimilated social media into the very DNA of our relationships. When at one time we questioned how we could live with it, we now question how we could live without it.

To some degree, this is troubling because many of us know the many disadvantages to living our lives on social media, and yet, we’re too afraid to cut the chord. We’ve grown too attached to the reality of social media.

After much discussing, I decided not to leave social media (namely, Facebook). But the whole discussion on the matter led me to truly analyze the pros and cons of social media.

I discovered that not many people even want to look at the disadvantages of social media because they know they can’t live without it. But maybe it’s time to face the dangers we’re unwilling to look at, because that’s the only way we can make our experience online a healthy one.

This list below is not my attempt to convince you away from social media. It’s my attempt to level the playing field and help you realize there are just as many dangers to relying on social media as there are to leaving it.

Here are just a few dangers involved with social media:

1. Validation

We’ve always wanted to be accepted. Social media has just exacerbated this desire in the form of likes and retweets. Seeking validation online is a danger because it has us relinquish our power to affirm ourselves even more. We now look for even more external measurements to our worth.

When we seek validation, we attempt to define who we are online, not have online complement who we are. Let’s cut all the validation at the roots and get back to being our true selves.

2. Comparison

When we see other’s accomplishments, how many of us envy them? How many of us compare instead of connect? Like validation, we’ve always done this with our peers. But with social media’s ability to edit our image, we now do this even more. It’s time for us to stop comparing ourselves to others and place the power back in our own hands to judge our worth.

3. Bitterness

I often get bitter that one person liked another status and not mine, or that one person shared a moment with another friend and not me. This is ultimately a heart problem on my part. But how many of you also grow bitter from what you see on social media? Maybe the best cure is to step back from the platform that only fosters a bitter heart.

4. Caring About the Wrong Things

I used to care more about real, tangible things—like my relationships with others. Now I find that being watered down with cares about a virtual world—how my image looks on social media or how many “likes” my Instagram photo got. Give priority to what happens in the real and visible present, not what occurs in a virtual world.

5. Noise

Before, I used to really take the time to digest content. I would read longer paragraphs online and thoroughly enjoy it. But now, I only read lists online. The clutter and barrage of noise has led me to only consume bullet point information. This way, I could read everything given to me.

The reality is, however, you filter what’s noise from what’s essential, and you only consume the beneficial essential. This unfortunately becomes increasingly difficult with social media sharing everything.

6. Convenient Friendships

We don’t have much risk with our relationships today. It is now hard to call someone on the phone because that involves giving something of ourselves. Instead of risking, it’s easier to glance at someone’s profile to learn about his or her world. Unfortunately, this makes a relationship convenient and easy, when the best foundation for a long lasting relationship is one that’s willing to risk.

7. Wasting Time

Time is valuable, which means we shouldn’t waste it with people, interactions and advertisements that offer no return for our attention. Social media forces us to waste time with these sort of things. It’s better to invest our valuable time in something that gives the world—and us—more value.

8. Isolation

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On social media, we are in a world within a world. It’s easy to shut ourselves off from interaction because we believe our interaction online is enough. It’s easy to not see people all day, but rather see them online.

Distance yourself from this tendency to isolate. Allow social media to push you in the world even further, not away from it.

It is just as equal of a danger to stay on social media than it is to leave. What this means is we are free to choose. We are free to pick which set of problems we want. We can decide how we want to improve our online experience. And most of all, we can choose which measures will help us honor God and live more like His Son in this world. The choice is yours.

An earlier version of this article appeared in February 2015.

Top Comments

Vaughan Coetzee


Vaughan Coetzee commented…

Imagine if every hour spent on social media is rather spent on reading the Bible.


Justin Joseph


Justin Joseph commented…

Social media is nothing more than a tool. It can be used for godly and ungodly purposes. I believe most people don't think too hard about how they're actually using it, much like lots of other things. And I don't see the harmful ways that social media is used changing any time soon.

I share some of my own thoughts: http://www.millennialsforchrist.com/2014/01/25/5-questions-ask-posting-s...

Matthew Joel Schwerin


Matthew Joel Schwerin commented…

Most people I know are perfectly willing to admit these things. It's a conversation topic in fact. Yeah, facebook is kinda dumb (for all of these reasons) but it's still kind of fun and a nice way to keep in touch with my aunt.

Bryana Ware


Bryana Ware commented…

This article is written assuming that we are all convinced that there are dangers to NOT being connected in social media. I would be interested in the top 10 dangers of being unplugged. As far as I can tell, the cons of too much social media far outweigh the fear of missing out. Just a thought...

Marianne Miller


Marianne Miller commented…

This article was right on target. Yes, I know, it helps with a large circle of aquaintances to be able to keep up with (just a little of) what's going on in their lives. Yes, I know it lets us as parents know just a little about those guys and gals who are our children's aquaintances. But all of social media, as well as entertainment media with "stories" of fictional people that we seem to "get to know," can facilitate wasting time on pseudo-friendships with no depth, in the end fostering more loneliness and isolation. We spend lots of time on media "friends" who don't talk back, and who can be turned off at any moment at our convenience, and then wonder why we can't have a real conversation with a real person without quarreling. Beware lest the real-time relationships be replaced with the pseudo-relationships. I've seen this happen in my family.

Jeremy Branham


Jeremy Branham commented…

In July 2013, I left all social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, all associated apps, etc. Honestly, I don't miss it and I used it a lot both personally and professionally. I have an email address and a few websites that I visit now. And guess what? I haven't missed out.

Those that fear missing out it's a huge lie. I've never missed out on major news. I may not have been the first to hear about it but that's OK. I have missed out on discussions, debates, wasting time on Facebook and Twitter, being addicted to information and connection, and that feeling that I'm "really connected." It's all a lie. There is nothing wrong with any of the social media platforms. However, the fear of missing out says more about you than the social media platforms you consume.

However, I see social media much like money. Money isn't evil - it's the love of it. When you value money to the point that it controls your life, it becomes your treasure. If you can't stand the idea of leaving social media, then maybe you are addicted - to the need for information, connection, or one of the reasons above. Technology is good but too much of it makes us narcissistic and obsessed with ourselves.

I've gotten back time with family and doing things that matter. On the other side of things, I now understand how much of my life was wasted on social media when I didn't need it. And to be completely honest, I still waste my time but I just find other ways to do it. For me personally, I feel social media has taken away from what God truly intended - real human interaction and relationships.

I can't explain the psychology behind it or the neurological effects on the brain. I just know my life is better off without social media. And I haven't missed out at all. I've gained a lot more than I lost.

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