Moms love social media, but they also kind of hate it, according to a recent poll Current Lifestyle Marketing and Impulse Research, which surveyed 1,004 mothers and found that many feel social media creates unrealistic expectations and puts pressure on them to craft an idealized image of their lives. They also objected to excessive marketing, a proliferation of annoying invitations, and over-sharing by online contacts. Unsurprisingly younger mothers were both more likely to engage with social media, and to feel stress because of it.
Asked if they felt pressure to create an image of a perfect life on social media, half of all mothers said they felt pressure sometimes or always. That figure rose to 63% for mothers ages 18 to 24 and 60% for mothers ages 25 to 34. For moms ages 35 to 50 it was an even 50%, while for moms 45 to 54 it sank to 41%, and for moms ages 55-64 it was a relatively low 37%.
As a result of all this and other annoying factors, over half of mothers polled (53%) aid they have considered taking a break from social media for their psychological health -- and again, the proportion is higher among younger mothers, with 64% of mothers ages 18 to 24 thinking about stopping or at least taking a breather from social media because they are “burned out” or “frustrated,” and 57% of mothers ages 25 to 34.
The findings may contain a hint of caution for marketers who use “aspirational” messages to market to women on social media, as the images of successful women and perfect do-it-yourself products may not always find the sympathetic reception they expect.
The Current Lifestyle poll results echo previous findings about women’s attitudes towards social media. Back in 2011 a survey of 400 women by Eversave found that 84% of women Facebook users said they found some aspect of their Facebook friends’ online behavior annoying. Getting into the nitty gritty, 65% cited sharing too many mundane posts, 46% cited “liking” too many posts, 40% cited images of a perfect life, and 32% cited bragging about their perfect lives.
But social media’s psychological impact goes beyond mere annoyance. In April of this year a study by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, the University of Iowa, and the University of Ohio found that Facebook use may result in an increased likelihood of negative body image issues among young women.Furthermore one out of every three people (33%) seeking facial plastic surgery in 2013 was prompted by a desire to look better for social media, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, which surveyed 2,700 of its members about their patients last year.