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Literature Review: Excessive Usage of Social Media and Online Games

Social media and online gaming have rapidly increased in recent years. Many young adults are always on social media platforms due to the availability of internet services. Spilkova, Chomynova & Csemy (2017) conducted research intended to analyze adolescents’ increased rate of internet usage in the Czech Republic. Normal internet usage and online gaming should not take more than two hours a day. The authors also wanted to determine the determinants that have facilitated excessive online gaming and social media usage. The authors selected four thousand, eight thousand, and eighty-seven students to provide data. They used regression models to describe familiar discriminative and individual factors that lead to excessive social media usage and online games. The results indicated that girls are more addicted to online gaming, social media platforms, and communication (Spilkova et al., 2017). The results also indicated a connection between excessive internet usage and online gaming with binge drinking and daily smoking (Spilkova et al., 2017). However, the study’s findings did not indicate whether social media and online gaming have any impact on families. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale indicates that the criterion validity of self-esteem should be 0.55 (Rosenberg, 1965). Reliability Internal consistency can range from 0.77 to 0.88.

Leon Feininger’s theory of social comparison can also be used to find out the relationship between adolescents and social media usage. The social comparison theory suggests that individuals are responsible for determining their personal and social worth (Vogel et al., 2014). According to Vogel et al., 2014, social media sites such as Facebook provide a social comparison of internet usage and adolescents. The first study was intended to find out whether frequent usage of Facebook is related to lower characteristics of self-esteem (Vogel et al., 2014). The method that was used to conduct this research is the correlation approach. The final results indicated that individuals who frequently use Facebook have poor self-esteem traits.


The sociometer theory suggests that self-esteem is how individuals regulate and monitor international relationships (Bale & Archer, 2013). The relationship between self-esteem and physical attractiveness reflects desirability as a sexual partner or romantic. Bale and Archer used two hundred and eighty-seven adults to measure self-perceived attractiveness, self-confidence, romantic relationships, global self-esteem, and body esteem. The authors used a linear regulation approach to analyze data (Bale & Archer, 2013). The final results indicated that self-confidence, bodily and facial attractiveness could be used to predict self-esteem in both genders. It was also confirmed that the relationship between perceived attractiveness and self-esteem is more in females than males.

Ha, Overbeek & Engels (2010) conducted a study to find out the extent to which adolescents’ dating desire is determined by social status and attractiveness to a short-term partner. The authors also tried to find out if self-perceived mate value can moderate the relationship attractiveness and dating desire. They used a sample size of one thousand, nine hundred and thirteen adolescents aged between 13-18 years (Ha et al., 2010). The results indicate that boys have more attractiveness behavior than girls (Ha et al., 2010). The results also indicated that the social status of both genders does not determine attractiveness. Male perception of the female is determined by physical attractiveness in boys, while attractiveness in girls is determined by physical attractiveness and social status.

Upward Social Comparison

Collins (1996) suggests that upward social comparison can be considered ego-deflating. However, most individuals like comparing themselves with those who have better attributes and abilities than them. Upward comparison usually provides useful information regarding the behavior of a person. Sometimes, upward comparison usually prevents positive self-evaluation (Collins, 1996). According to Lockwood & Kunda (1997), the upward social comparison has positive benefits. In their first study, Lockwood and Kunda wanted to find out how an accountant or a teacher affects the future of other accountants and teachers. The participants were fifty female university students. The analysis indicated that those students wanted to excel in academics like their teachers (Lockwood & Kunda, 1997). They concluded that a person’s status or success could be standardized through personal behavior change.

Social Media and Upward Comparison

According to Lockwood & Kunda (1997), role models play a significant role in other people’s lives. Social comparison processes are used to provide standards used by individuals during self-evaluation. In education, all students or a group of students can use different references due to the impact of the social comparison effect (Chanal, & Sarrazin, 2007). The Big-Fish-Little- Pond effect and upward comparisons can be used to explain the contradictory results in the classroom. BFLPE is usually experienced when students with low capability compare themselves to students with more capability. For instance, if an average student is placed in a class that has high-performing students that student’s academic performance will be lower (Chanal & Sarrazin, 2007). Conversely, if that student is placed with low-performing students, that student will be above average. The BFLPE model self-concept is correlated with performance or achievement. The BFLPE studies have also indicated that upward social comparison triggers negative self-evaluation (Chanal, & Sarrazin, 2007). Individuals cannot claim that they are perfect than their peers if they compare themselves with individuals who are better than them.

The Relationship between Facebook and the Well-Being of Undergraduate College Students

Kalpidou, Costin & Morris (2011) researched how Facebook is related to self-esteem. Other examined relationships include the relationship between Facebook and college adjustment, social adjustment, emotional adjustment, and self-esteem. The study involved first-year students and those in the upper classes. The results indicated that first-year students had a strong emotional connection to Facebook and spent much of their time online than those in the upper class (Kalpidou et al., 2011). They also found that spending more hours on Facebook leads to academic adjustment due to low self-esteem. Therefore, spending many hours on Facebook can lead to negative academic and emotional adjustments in the first years but positive adjustment among those in the upper classes (Kalpidou et al., 2011). The results also indicated that Facebook positively impacts college students because it enables them to connect socially with their friends.

Many researchers mainly focus on identifying the impact of Facebook usage in human lives. Only limited research has been carried out to find out the impact of Instagram usage on well-being. The study included one hundred and twenty-nine participants from 18 to 35 years (Sherlock & Wagstaff, 2019). The researchers found that the use of Instagram is related to depression, anxiety, body dissatisfaction, and self-esteem (Sherlock & Wagstaff, 2019). Therefore, excessive usage of Instagram can result in negative physical impacts and poor self-perception.

Another study was conducted by Mackson, Brochu & Schneider (2019) to find out the association between Instagram and psychological well-being. The participants included both Instagram users and non-users. The authors were trying to find out how Instagram usage is related to social comparison, body image, self-esteem, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Instagram users were also requested to report the amount of time they spend on Instagram and its relation to anxiety (Mackson et al., 2019). The final results suggested that individuals with an Instagram account have lower levels of depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and loneliness than those who do not have an Instagram account (Mackson et al., 2019. The study’s second aim is the determinants of anxiety and depression for patients with an Instagram account. The final results indicated that Instagram usage has a negative impact on psychological well-being (Mackson et al., 2019).

Social network sites also lead to depression in adolescents. According to Niu et al. (2016), network sites have increased worldwide. It has become an interesting platform where individuals interact freely, especially adolescents. Therefore, many researchers have tried to determine the impact of excessive social network site usage (Niu et al., 2016). A complex mechanism indicates a relationship between social network sites and psychological adoptions. The information that young adults receive from social network sites results in upward comparison (Niu et al. 2016). That comparison can make them feel inadequate during self-evaluation leading to poor self-esteem. The social rank theory of depression suggests that subordination can sometimes trigger depression (Niu et al., 2016).

Nesi & Prinstein (2015) conducted a study to compare social media usage and depression symptoms. The study primarily focused on examining behaviors of using technologies and how they interfere with the normal behavior resulting in symptoms of depression (Nesi & Prinstein, 2015). The participants were six hundred and nineteen students who completed questionnaires. They reported that social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram trigger the symptoms of depression. The association was strong in females and low in popularity in adolescents (Nesi & Prinstein, 2015). Lee et al. (2012) conducted a study to determine how Facebook usage affects self-consciousness and self-esteem. Two hundred and thirty-four individuals were selected as a research sample. The results indicated that Facebook users have low self-esteem than those individuals who do not have a Facebook account (Lee et al., 2012). Therefore, Facebook users tend to find more active users to raise their self-esteem. It was also noted that Facebook friends vary depending on self-consciousness. The result suggested a negative relationship between the usage of the Facebook platform and self-esteem (Lee et al., 2012). More research should be conducted to understand how other social media platforms affect well-being.

According to Nesi & Prinstein (2015), social media can be considered a part of life, especially for younger adults. Examples of social media platforms that are commonly used include Facebook and Instagram. Some of the issues that are associated with social media usage are complex. Excessive usage of social media platforms can result in serious health issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem (Lee et al., 2012). These symptoms are triggered when individuals start comparing themselves with other people. They start overthinking and thinking about their self-worth, which results in mental challenges. However, there is no effective research conducted to show the relationship between social media and mental health issues.


Bale, C., & Archer, J. (2013). Self-perceived attractiveness, romantic desirability and self-esteem: A mating sociometer perspective. Evolutionary Psychology11(1), 147470491301100107.

Chanal, J. P., & Sarrazin, P. G. (2007). Big-fish-little-pond effect versus positive effect of upward comparisons in the classroom: How does one reconcile contradictory results?. Revue internationale de psychologie sociale20(1), 69-86.

Collins, R. L. (1996). For better or worse: The impact of upward social comparison on self-evaluations. Psychological Bulletin, 119(1), 51–69

Ha, T., Overbeek, G., & Engels, R. C. (2010). Effects of attractiveness and social status on dating desire in heterosexual adolescents: An experimental study. Archives of sexual behavior39(5), 1063-1071.

Kalpidou, M., Costin, D., & Morris, J. (2011). The relationship between Facebook and the well-being of undergraduate college students. CyberPsychology, behavior, and social networking14(4), 183-189.

Lockwood, P., & Kunda, Z. (1997). Superstars and me: Predicting the impact of role models on the self. Journal of personality and social psychology73(1), 91.

Lee, J. E. R., Moore, D. C., Park, E. A., & Park, S. G. (2012). Who wants to be “friend-rich”? Social compensatory friending on Facebook and the moderating role of public self-consciousness. Computers in Human Behavior28(3), 1036-1043.

Mackson, S. B., Brochu, P. M., & Schneider, B. A. (2019). Instagram: Friend or foe? The application’s association with psychological well-being. New Media & Society21(10), 2160-2182.

Nesi, J., & Prinstein, M. J. (2015). Using social media for social comparison and feedback-seeking: Gender and popularity moderate associations with depressive symptoms. Journal of abnormal child psychology43(8), 1427-1438.

Niu, G., Sun, X., Zhou, Z., Kong, F., & Tian, Y. (2016). The impact of social network site (Qzone) on adolescents’ depression: The serial mediation of upward social comparison and self-esteem. Acta Psychologica Sinica.

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Sherlock, M., & Wagstaff, D. L. (2019). Exploring the relationship between frequency of Instagram use, exposure to idealized images, and psychological well-being in women. Psychology of Popular Media Culture8(4), 482.

Spilkova, J., Chomynova, P., & Csemy, L. (2017). Predictors of excessive use of social media and excessive online gaming in Czech teenagers. Journal of behavioral addictions6(4), 611-619.

Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology of popular media culture3(4), 206.


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