Is Social Media Making Us more Narcissistic?

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Is Social Media Making Us more Narcissistic?

This essay will explore the impact of social media on narcissism. It will discuss how social media platforms might encourage self-promotion, validation-seeking, and a focus on appearance, potentially fostering narcissistic tendencies. The piece will examine research findings and the psychological effects of social media use. Moreover, at PapersOwl, there are additional free essay samples connected to Addiction.

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The Impact of Social Media on Narcissism

Do you use social media on a daily basis? If so, it might be helpful to know that you could possibly be a narcissist just from the way you use social media. Sites like Facebook and Instagram have features such as following people and gaining followers, liking and commenting on posts, and receiving likes and comments on your own posts. There are ways that people act towards these elements of social media that could indicate they are becoming narcissistic.

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Studies conducted by various universities have proven links between social media use and egotistical ideals among the younger generation. Although many view social media as a place for promotion and connection, it has become a spot where young people are chasing likes and followers in a self-congratulatory obsession that is, in turn, making them more narcissistic.

Parental Coddling and Its Implications

Some individuals may say social media is harmless, but there is another main reason that the youth of today are increasingly narcissistic. Some people find no problem in using social media and do not ever end up acting in any kind of self-centered manner. As Dr. Firestone, the Director of Research at Glendon Association, states, “There has been an increase in parental coddling and the so-called “self -esteem” movement”. Parental coddling is basically when the parents of a child are overprotective, sometimes to the point of it being bad for the child. What this quote is saying is that there has been a growing number of parents coddling their children. As Dr. Firestone continues to say, “The solution to fostering a less narcissistic generation is to instill a healthy sense of true esteem offline before anyone is old enough to post their first status update”.

What this is trying to say is that coddling your child is unacceptable and can lead them to be narcissistic, and the way to stop this is to let your child develop his or her mindset on their own. All of this is true, but only to the extent that not a huge amount of young people are being coddled by their parents. While a much larger amount of them do have and use social media on a regular basis. This means they would have a lot better chance of social media affecting them than their parents would. Although home life can affect how narcissistic a person is, social media can still very much change the way a person sees themselves and others.

The Real-life Impacts of Excessive Social Media Use

Social media can be very harmful to different individuals; some might get addicted to it or even develop mental problems from using it too much. As Dr. Rao, who is a nationally known expert in child psychology, states, “The harm lies in their change in behavior. Their addiction means… social media is the main activity they engage in above all others. It also means taking away attention from other tasks”. This quote states that over time there could be a change in one’s behavior. They could go from someone who never checks their phone, or if they do, it’s rare, to someone who is constantly on the phone and checking it. Rao calls this the “addiction” they are developing to social media. As Dr. Rao continues on to say, “It may not cause physical harms, such as those caused by tobacco and alcohol, but it has the potential to cause long-term damage to our emotions, behavior and relationships”. This quote claims that even if social media might not cause physical harm, it still causes mental harm. Social media could cause someone to develop depression, put on a face that really is not theirs, and even cause them to become addicted to social media.

People of the newer generation like to post on social media a large amount and sometimes tend to do whatever it takes to get the most likes and follows, which in turn, means more attention. This society of people has this desire for more likes and followers on social media because it is giving them more and more attention which is what narcissists want. As Taylor M. Wickel, in strategic communications at Elon University, states, “As a way to acquire the maximum number of likes… users will manipulate and change their profile content”. Wickel is basically saying that people will edit their photos before they post them to make themselves look better than they actually did, and people will edit their own profiles to only show the most appealing pictures and posts. As Dr. Firestone states in her article, “The trouble with social networking is that nearly everyone presents an unrealistic portrait of themselves”. What Firestone is saying is that most people on social media will show a not-so-real version of themselves. This includes editing photos to make yourself look better, lying about where you are or where you have gone, for example, somewhere on vacation, among plenty of other stuff that people will tend to lie about on social media. People will feel this need no matter what to look better than they actually do, or they might feel as though that society wants them to look appealing in online photos. Whatever the case might be, this shows narcissism in the way that these individuals want to look better to get more attention.

Social Comparisons and its Effect on Self-worth

Social media is making people compare themselves to others more and more. As someone scrolls through their feed on social media, they might see a pretty picture of someone else and compare themselves to that person. One study noted that “Social media is making it a lot harder to avoid comparing our own connectedness with that of our peers. This study found that with the ideas of likes and followers, individuals begin to compare themselves to others through their connectedness to other people on social media. As Wickel states in the article, “Specifically, teens measure their status through the number of likes a photo or a status update gets”. This quote is saying that teenagers will look at other teenagers’ number of likes on a post and the number of followers he or she has and base their own standing based on that information. The whole idea of basing standing off of someone’s social media interactions is very narcissistic. If social media had not put such a big emphasis on likes and followers, people would not be so worried about them.

The Nuances of Narcissism in Social Media

There is a link between social media and a certain form of narcissism. A narcissist is someone who is self-centered and selfish, has an excessive interest in oneself, and needs to be better than everyone else. A study performed by the University of Würzburg found that “Narcissism and social networking behavior is subject to cultural influences”. This means that in cultures where it’s more about community than individual, social media gives these narcissists a platform to present themselves differently than they do to the public. The study was also done by the university and found that “Grandiose narcissists are encountered more frequently in social networks than vulnerable narcissists”. This type of narcissist likes to be in charge and take control whenever possible, and because most actually would not do this in person, social media gives them a platform to do so without anybody really knowing who it is. At the same time, a vulnerable narcissist is someone who always plays the victim and wants sympathy from everyone. So, there are different kinds of narcissists who use social media for different reasons.

Concluding Thoughts on Social Media and Narcissism

Social media is turning the newer generation into more narcissistic people. The way most of the youth use and perceive social media today is not the way it should be used. They are using it for many of the wrong reasons, like just to achieve the level of attention that they desire. As they use social media more, they become addicted to the gratification they get from their likes and followers. Many people probably have not and might never realize that the way they are acting just is not right, and on top of that, it is not good for their mental health. People who are already narcissists use social media, and so do the youth. The youth are slowly becoming more and more like those people, and it is not good.


  1. Bergman, S. M., Fearrington, M. E., Davenport, S. W., & Bergman, J. Z. (2011). Millennials, narcissism, and social networking: What narcissists do on social networking sites and why. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(5), 706-711.
  2. Buffardi, L. E., & Campbell, W. K. (2008). Narcissism and social networking web sites. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(10), 1303-1314.
  3. Kauten, R. L., Barry, C. T., & Leachman, L. L. (2013). Do perceived social stressors predict narcissism? An exploration in young adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(5), 658-662.
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Is Social Media Making Us More Narcissistic?. (2023, Jun 21). Retrieved from