Instagram And TikTok Survey Reveals They Are Ruining Our Happiness And Finances

By Vic Medina | Published

tiktok death

In a surprise to absolutely no one using the internet, a new study reveals that social media titans Instagram and TikTok are specifically designed to wreak havoc on your state of mind and bank account. Worse yet, they are making billions by doing it. The study, by Bankrate, indicates that Gen Z and millennials are hit the hardest by social media, who are more influenced by its narcissistic and materialistic nature. As a result, these individuals are more likely to feel bad about themselves and their financial situation, while at the same time be more likely to be exploited by sales pitches on popular platforms like Instagram and TikTok, according to Fortune.

According to Bankrate’s Sarah Foster, who authored the study, social media can negatively impact spending habits, by encouraging impulse purchases. Instagram and TikTok in particular benefit from this practice, through the use of sponsored posts and the popularity of influencers. A survey conducted by the study group found 49% of all U.S. adults have made an impulse buy of a product because of a post they saw on social media. Worse yet, 64% of those individuals regret buying a product purchased through a social media impulse buy. Impulse buying is a terrible financial habit in general, but it’s even worse for young adults, who often incur debt and continue to carry on the negative practice. Because the main purpose of social media is to see and be seen, Gen Zers and millennials often compare their personal worth and status to those they see on Instagram and TikTok, and try to emulate their look and standard of living, even if they can’t afford it.

Just last year, The Wall Street Journal released internal Facebook documents showing the company knew that Instagram (which they own) had a negative effect on the mental well-being of teenagers, particularly girls. TikTok is currently being sued by the families of two girls who say the platform contributed to their deaths, after they tried the “Blackout Challenge” seen on the platform. Even the FCC Commissioner thinks TikTok should be banned in the U.S. over privacy concerns, after it was revealed the Chinese government could access user data.

Social media platforms encourage this practice because companies promote their products through influencers, and we aren’t just talking about the Kardashians or other internet celebrities, whose sales pitches are easy to spot. Many companies, particularly clothing and makeup brands, use more subtle sponsored posts through less-popular non-celebrity influencers, who may have smaller followings, but have a specific, motivated fan base. Seeing someone brag about a product or post a picture from somewhere on Instagram and TikTok is common, but these posts are often sponsored by companies hoping followers will feel bad about being “left out” and purchase the product as well.

As a result, the study found that social media users are more likely to feel badly about themselves, their financial situation, and money in general. 47% of Gen Z and 46% of millenials say they have a negative feeling about their personal financial situation because they see someone else on Instagram or TikTok living their “best life.” It isn’t just young people feeling this way. The study found 31% of Gen Xers and 22% of baby boomers get feelings of inadequacy as well. That’s why companies use social media sponsored posts featuring “seemingly normal, everyday people in the most sought-after vacations, outfits, or products,” Foster said.

Kids who use social media are getting an unrealistic image of money and social status, according to the study. 64% of parents report their children who use social media believe it contributes to giving them an unrealistic expectations about money. With Instagram, TikTok and YouTube filled with underage influencers making every new product seem like a must-have, these kids are learning very early to feel bad about their financial position, and feel pressured to “keep up” in a way the pre-internet generation never had to endure.

Even among adults, this negative influence grosses gender lines. 61% of women report being negatively impacted by social media, as do 56% of men. Social media is more likely to target women over their appearance (39% report a negative influence on looks), with finances (36%), living situations (29%), and relationships (28%) following close behind. Men are most likely to feel a negative influence on their finances (32%) and careers (26%). Appearance (25%), living situations (24%) and relationships (22%) also rank high. Although older adults are more likely to use Facebook and Twitter over platforms like Instagram and TikTok, the negative influence is not limited to any particular platform. It isn’t just “normal” people feeling the pressure. Many celebrities have sworn off social media, including Emma Stone, who quit all platforms after a negative experience while dating Andrew Garfield.