Looking at other people’s selfies makes us feel ‘miserable and worthless’ says research

Ah, so that’s why I feel miserable and worthless!

Hey, how’s your Halloween hangover? The days are getting shorter and it’s getting colder outside and now, to add to that depressing scenario, here is some research about social media making us feel bad about ourselves.

While you might think that lying face down on the sofa after a hard day of work and idly scrolling through your friends’ Snapchats is relaxing, apparently it’s bad for you. A new study from Penn State University says looking at too many selfies can actually make you feel miserable and worthless, lowering your self esteem and “overall life satisfaction”.


Apparently “lurking” on social media – 56 weeks back in your ex’s new girlfriend’s Insta, eyes glazed – is putting our mental wellbeing at risk. The study claims that people who look frequently at other people’s selfies were significantly more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and “decreased life satisfaction”. Supposedly it also indicates that you have a high need for popularity.

It’s not all bad though. Despite endless baby boomer articles bemoaning our vain selfie-posting culture, actually putting up your own selfies doesn’t make your life any worse. Ruoxu Wang, who led Penn State’s study, told Dazed: “Our results only showed viewing selfies decreased people’s self-esteem. The results showed the association between posting selfies and self-esteem was nonsignificant. The association between posting selfies and life satisfaction was also nonsignificant.”

The study surveyed 275 people online, and concluded that selfie viewing makes us feel bad because it’s an example of “upward social comparison”, encouraging us to compare ourselves to people we think are “better” than ourselves.

So I mean, great.

Featured image via Flickr.