Pressures of Online Sphere: Toxicity of Instagram

November 26, 2021

Instagram is one of the most widely used platforms today. Studies have shown that the people among the age group of 18 to 25 years have been found to use Instagram the most, as compared to the other age groups, but people right from the age of around 13-14 until the age of 30-35 years use the platform on a regular basis. According to the statistics as of January 2021, India has a total of 140 million users, which also accounts to around 5.7% of the total population of India. Today, numerous people worldwide use Instagram not only as a means of fun or to share memes, but also to make their daily living. People who primarily earn from Instagram are the so called ‘Instagram influencers’, or more commonly ‘social media influencers’. These influencers also earn a good amount of money just by posting on their pages or handles, for example nano-influencers (2000 to 9000 followers) earn around Rs. 4000 - Rs. 16,000 per post; Micro-influencers (10,000 to 50,000 followers) earn around Rs. 16,000 - Rs. 30,000 per post; Middle-tier influencers (60,000 to 100,000 followers) earn around Rs. 35,000 - Rs. 60,000 per post; Top-tier influencers (100,000 to 500,000 followers) earn Up to ?1 Lakh and Mega influencers (Above 500,000 followers) earn Up to ?1.2 Lakh per post (Estimate Source:

But while social media influencers do make a great deal out of their posts on social media such as Instagram, the common man might be going through quite the opposite. Instagram and all the other social media platforms are basically ‘using’ common people, who become prey to such sites, and easily get addicted to the content that is targeted towards them, by these sites. For example, the moment you open Instagram, you see the first 5 posts of people whom you are absolutely interested in knowing about, and this makes you keep scrolling down further, because once your attention is grasped, you want to keep yourself entertained, and this is exactly the aim of the app. The app wants to make sure that you are completely entertained by every post that you see, and also not put off by the posts you do not want to see. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are designed in such a way that each and every activity by the users is carefully and precisely monitored over and recorded by the system, and they use this information against you, in order to keep you hooked onto the platform.

The recent 2020 Netflix Original documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’ explains how social media carefully monitors our every action:- how the app for example Instagram records exactly how many seconds we spend looking at post, how fast we scroll through the posts, which posts we hit like or comment on, which posts we aren’t interested in, and so on. This data is later used to keep the user hooked on to the platform, and the app wins when they find the user’s total app usage time per day soaring higher and higher day by day, sometimes even going up to 11 or 12 hours a day. If you’ve ever found yourself in an uncomfortable position, not being able to close the app and just focus on the real world because each and every post, video or reel that you see on the app grasps you and makes you want to hang in there just a little longer, remember that you’re not alone!

Over the period of the lock-down, Instagram has mainly seen a surge in the number of it’s active users. This is a win-win for the app, but the users are used and exploited to the maximum capacity possible. This is mainly because it is a proven fact that we no longer are users of Instagram but instead, platforms such as Instagram and Facebook use/control us. We no longer have control over what we want to see on social media, because everything has already been monitored, stored, processed and kept ready, and the best of dishes are served on our plate in the easiest way possible, keeping us hooked onto the app. Not just because of viewing the content that we like are we hooked on to the apps, but the problem that I see in this scenario is that Instagram is actually robbing us of all the precious time that we could be using for something more useful or beneficial to us, which would result in us being productive. Gone are the days when we used to click pictures of ourselves and each other just to save a memory so that we can revisit that memory in the future. Now with the rise in usage of social media apps, emotions, moments, and most importantly people have become fake. We fake our emotions just to get that perfect selfie shot for our Instagram. We feel extremely sad and distressed within, but we show to the world that we are having the time of our lives. We go on outings to have some time out of our busy routine lives, but we end up spending more time on our phone uploading pictures, videos and V-logs, than actually living in the moment and enjoying what we’re doing at the moment. Life has become more about showing what we are doing to the world, than actually doing something.

Medical science and research has revealed that the rise in usage of apps such as Instagram and other social media sites is inversely proportional to the self-esteem of the users. What this means is that: the more the person uses and gets addicted to the app, the less he/she is involved in the real world, and the self-esteem of the person goes down greatly, with issues of anxiety, social-anxiety, depression and so on surfacing. Just scrolling through your Instagram feed for hours together or even for a short amount of time can have an impact on your thoughts, and might end up in you feeling less wanted. This is because when you constantly see images of your mates or people whom you know on Instagram having fun, going to beaches, partying hard, celebrating birthdays, going on treks, going on vacation, hiking, sky-diving etc., it almost automatically creates a comparison factor, wherein you begin comparing the life that you are currently living, to that on the person whom you see in the images. In the beginning, it all seems normal and fine, but overtime, repeatedly seeing images of people doing all sorts of fun things while you might not really be enjoying even half as much as them, makes you feel worthless and could lead to loneliness. ‘Peer pressure’ is real, and you might often find yourself doing the things that you don’t really love or enjoy doing, just so that you can get those couple of cute #girlgang or #squadgoals pictures for your Instagram feed.

Out of all the social media platforms, I find that Instagram in particular is about showing to the world how glossy, glamorous, fun and wholesome your life is, while the case might me quite the opposite in reality. People often tend to overlook the fact that most of the pictures, especially of Instagram influencers, fashion models etc., that you see on Instagram most often are digitally enhanced images, with some part of their body being enhanced in order to have the perfect figure. Youngsters are often blinded by the beauty of the images they constantly come across on social media platforms such as Instagram, and the actual problem arises when they begin to idealise these unrealistic body figures and cause more harm than good to themselves in their attempts of reaching these extremely unrealistic and impractical body standards of perfection. In my opinion, Instagram often does more harm than good to young people and the users of the app, by enforcing ideas of perfect body size, body shape, fairness, and so on. This leads to toxicity of the app as a whole:- one which causes more distress, anxiety issues, lack of social-communication skills and inability to face the gruesome and challenging world outside the world of Instagram, for the users of the app.

In my opinion, it’s best to keep Instagram at bay, especially when you find yourself constantly checking the app and start feeling anxious about yourself, your body/appearance or your abilities. Checking the app once in a while still seems fine, but one must constantly keep a track of the total usage time on the app’s database, by visiting the ‘user activity’ section of the app, and in this way should try to minimise the usage of the app. We need to stop ourselves from becoming prey to the app, and try focusing more on our real life goals, find new motivations such as getting fitter rather than getting the ‘zero figure’, learning a new skill rather than faking a skill, getting more sunshine than binging on Instagram content. This time, let’s focus more on ourselves and our loved ones, let’s keep our Instagram usage in check and spend more time outdoors, playing and bonding with the ‘real’ people in our lives!




By Pearl Marita Sebatina D’Souza
Pearl D’Souza is presently pursuing M.A in Media and Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication, MAHE, Manipal. She is a Writer, Journalism and Social Media Enthusiast. She has previously interned at The Times of India, Deccan Herald and Daijiworld TV. She is also presently a Singer, Musician, and Choir Director at Christ Church, Manipal.
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Comment on this article

  • Pearl Marita Sebatina D'Souza, Manipal, Karnataka

    Wed, Dec 15 2021

    Thank you everyone! :)

  • Dr.Sandra Dsouza, Manipal

    Sat, Nov 27 2021

    Impressive article Pearl. It was so good to read this. Rightly said, more of social media is less of real world. Everything is good but not everything is good for all.Social media has good benefits but over usage and getting too much involved into it has its consequences. Your article is very brilliantly thought over and written. Looking for many more good articles from you.

  • Theodore, Mangalore / Manipal/ Udupi.

    Sat, Nov 27 2021

    Thank ❤ you Pearl, from your article people can understand about how to use social media and benefit from it people will get many ideas what to post on how to post thank you very much for the article dear god bless you. You have beautifully explain about the social media hats off to you.

  • Ben D'Souza Prabhu, Mangalore, Bombay Bandra now in Canada

    Fri, Nov 26 2021

    Thank you my dear friend for this nice article. You have done Well. May the Good Lord Bless and Protect you always !!!

  • John, Mangalore

    Fri, Nov 26 2021

    Most of the BigTech social media apps, search engines are AI controlled including android phones and operating systems of laptops and PCs. Elite misuse it for technological slavery, control, to brainwash young and for mega business. And these high tech nano particle mRNA vaccines are one step ahead. These nano tech vaccines Along with AI, 5G, Horus eye or The Big Brother advance camera surveilance technology through cloud network, connected to The Beast Supercomputer make one a Robot or Transhuman or technology merged with human or human2.o or Complete slavery or No privacy with body parameters and activity uploading to The Beast Computer. Even thoughts, emotions and commands will be controlled The Beast Super computer or the one controlling it. That's why these mRNA vaccines (pfizer, moderna) for and this covid, slightly modified flu and virus strains through vaccine in the first place. To make all humans into humans2.o. Loosing god given freewill to elite communist (nano) technologically controlled will or slavery. That's why better traditional vaccines if need be than mRNA vaccines. But looks like with some pretext or the other these mRNA vaccine or boosters will be forced upon on most of the humanity.

  • Joe Britto, Nakre/Bangalore

    Fri, Nov 26 2021

    A Gem of a Article Pearl. Thanks for bringing out the Reality !

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Fri, Nov 26 2021

    True mirror held against today's reality. Since time immemorial marketing strategy has been to get consumers hooked on to commodities using mind games. Now the only difference is, domain has changed from physical to digital.

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Fri, Nov 26 2021

    What is Instagram?

  • reva, Mangalore

    Fri, Nov 26 2021

    Need of the hour. Very well articulated.

  • Siddd, Melkar

    Fri, Nov 26 2021

    Very nice article. I feel everyone needs to understand this and become self aware.

Leave a Comment

Title: Pressures of Online Sphere: Toxicity of Instagram

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.