Social media makes it easy to create a version of yourself that doesn’t always tell the whole story. So how can you tell the difference between social media and reality? We’ve put together a few things worth thinking about if social media is getting you down.

Social media doesn’t tell the whole story

It’s easy when you look at other people’s social media feeds to feel like everyone else’s lives are more interesting or exciting than your own. Lots of people feel FOMO (fear of missing out) when they see what others are doing online – it can seem like everyone is having more fun than you are. If you’re feeling like this it’s important to remember that social media doesn’t show the whole story. That one photo of someone posing effortlessly on a beach might have taken hundreds of photos to get right; and someone’s ‘exciting’ looking life doesn’t usually show all the boring bits of their day!

If social media is getting you down or giving you serious FOMO consider taking some time out to focus on some of the other things in your life that make you feel happy.

Likes don’t equal worth

How many ‘likes’ do you feel like you need to make you feel good about what you’ve posted online? Social media makes it easy to judge your own value based on how many likes or comments you get on things you share. Worrying about how many likes you’re going to get can make it really stressful to share things online. Social media likes are not the best way to judge your own worth or value. Take some time out to think about all the people in your life who care about you. Social media likes don’t tell the whole story!

Social media is a job for some people

Have you ever looked at someone’s social media profile and wondered how they managed to get every photo so perfect? It’s important to remember that some people create social media posts for a job. It’s not uncommon for some social media influencers with big followings to get paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars by companies to pose with particular products. People who run social media profiles as a job have a lot more time to perfect their social media feed. Some social media influencers even use professional photographers to help them create the perfect photo. You can sometimes tell if someone is being paid to promote something if the post includes things like #Ad #Sponsored or “paid sponsorship with xxx”.

It’s easier to say something mean online

Sometimes people say things online that they wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Social media makes it a lot easier for people to say harsh things because they don’t have to see the immediate consequences of their words. It’s also easy to say something online that hurts someone even without meaning to – it’s hard to get the full meaning across with only words. If someone is being mean online make sure you reach out for help – talk to a friend, family member, teacher, counsellor or Netsafe (text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282 to speak to someone from our team). You don’t have to deal with it alone!

Tips for keeping perspective

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media, here’s some tips to deal with it:

  • Take a break from social media when you need it
  • Turn off or snooze some or all notifications for a while
  • Stop following accounts that make you feel negative
  • Start following accounts that leave you feeling positive, inspired or creative
  • Spend some time with family or friends – in person or even in a phone call
  • Do something offline that makes you happy or calm


If you or someone you know needs help or advice about something that’s happened online, you can contact us seven days a week.

Our contact centre is open 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am – 5pm on weekends and public holidays.  

If you’re concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, call 111.