Social media influencers a double-edged sword, caution experts

Social media expert Niveen Al Sayyed said that social media influencers have created 'a new standard' of women's consumption. — Health vector created by freepik -

AMMAN: Social media influencers can have negative impacts on the behaviours, thoughts and self-confidence of young women and girls, according to experts.

Recently, the UK-based Stylist magazine commissioned a report that found that 33% of women continued to follow influencers on social media even though they make them feel worse about themselves.

Abdullah Abu Adas, a consultant of psychiatry and addiction, said the negative impacts of influencers may promote unhealthy habits, reduce social interactions skills and lead to mental health conditions, such as body dysmorphia.

He also warned that not everything presented by influencers on social media is real. "Distinguishing between real and fake information is an important self-protecting technique too," he told The Jordan Times.

He also pointed out that social media influencers can have a positive impact depending on the content they present.

For instance, influencers can be instrumental in raising environmental awareness, breaking cycles of isolation, education and much more, Abu Adas said.

Sociologist Hussein Khozahe said that most of the influencers are young people and their audience is also mostly people of their age.

"Influencers have great abilities in choosing and selecting words, in addition to using the art of photography and sounds to reach a larger number of followers, and following up on topics of interest to society," Khozahe told The Jordan Times.

Social media expert Niveen Al Sayyed said that social media influencers have created "a new standard" of women's consumption.

Sayyed said that: "When anyone spends that much time watching what other people are doing, they will be affected one way or another. Some women might get frustrated because they are unable to purchase what an influencer is marketing."

Reema Abdo, a mother of two teenage girls, said that her daughters are "obsessed" with Instagram and watching what influencers do and what they have to say "every single day".

"My daughters spend their allowance on skincare products, accessories, makeup, lots of other stuff that influencers talk about," Abdo said.

She said that she has struggled with her daughters on different matters due to the effects of social media. "One of my daughters stopped eating well at some point because she wanted to look skinny like girls on Instagram," she added. – Jordan Times, Amman/Tribune News Service

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