Social media can be a great source of community, knowledge and friendship but often it is riddled with negativity that drives many to take a break from such platforms.

The latest prominent figure to taking time off from social media is natural hair blogger Akona Carol Lali, also known as Miss Acalaca. When she announced on her Instagram page that she would be taking a break to “focus on my mental, spiritual and physical health” many could empathise, especially those who have referenced social media as the source of their anxiety and depression.

But when a series of tweets from media personality Siyabonga Ngwekazi’s Twitter page accused Akona as the cause of his heartbreak (but subsequently announcing his account was hacked) – it felt like she had made the decision at the right time.

So whether it's trolls, compounded negativity or an understandable social media burnout, taking time off social media – as multiple studies show – is a reasonable action to take.

According to a recent UK study published in medical journal EClinicalMedicine, the use of social media is more likely to trigger depression among young women than in young men. The study highlights the accumulating evidence that young women tend to exhibit a range of mental health problems greater than young men. 

Instagram is the worst social media platform for mental health, as it was linked to anxiety and depression.

However, this study highlights that "underlying processes are not [yet] well understood."

Another study conducted in 2017 found that Instagram is the worst social media platform for mental health, as it was linked to anxiety and depression.

READ MORE: How to get the benefits from unplugging from social media when your job requires you to be connected all the time

New research from the University of Surrey says Facebook is linked to perceptions of worsening physical health and women perceived more symptoms. In a nutshell, social media applications can have a negative impact on your mental health. 

If you are an avid social media user, then you know how easily you can find yourself comparing your life to that of your online friends. The problem with this is that it can quickly lead to serious self-esteem issues.

Social media plays a huge role in today’s world where we live our lives through other people’s posts and what they are sharing. Of course this is unrealistic as many people only post the good things happening in their lives and very rarely when they are going through a tough time. This leaves us feeling unhappy about our present achievements.
Paula Quinsee

Those in the limelight are no exception, which is why some of them will occasionally take social media breaks when it all becomes overwhelming.

This is what they have to say about going offline:

Hailey Bieber

She has a successful modeling career and is married to her best friend Justin Bieber, and yet Hailey Baldwin says her life is not as polished as it looks.

"I have had more days than I can count where I've found myself scrolling through Instagram comparing myself, comparing my looks, feeling like I'm not good enough feeling like I lack so many things and really struggling to be confident in who I am because I constantly feel like I'm just not good enough," she said in a raw Instagram post.

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stepping into 2019 I want to be more open, I want to be more open about the things I struggle with, and be able to be more vulnerable. I’m a 22 years old, and the truth is no matter how amazing life may look from the outside I struggle... I’m insecure, I’m fragile, I’m hurting, I have fears, I have doubts, I have anxiety, I get sad, I get angry. I have had more days than I can count where I’ve found myself scrolling through Instagram comparing myself, comparing my looks, feeling like I’m not good enough feeling like I lack so many things and really struggling to be confident in who I am because I constantly feel like I’m just not good enough. Every single day is a confidence battle for me. I’m not writing this for a pity party or for sympathy but just to simply say, I’m a human.. I’m a young woman, I’m learning who I am and, it’s REALLY FREAKING HARD. It’s hard finding who you are, but what’s even harder is being picked apart and compared to other women while trying to do that. There are days that I’m simply broken because of it. It would be incredible if other young girls and women could find it in themselves to lift each other up, to stop making other women who are struggling JUST LIKE THEM, feel incompetent and less than. We ALL have flaws, and that will never change. What I do know is, God made us individuals for a reason, with our own beauty, our own personalities, and our own story because there’s a specific plan and purpose for each and every human created and he makes no mistakes!! So this year I’m gonna do my very best to just be ME and be confident with who I am. Cause I am enough, and I’m loved, and you are enough and you’re loved.

A post shared by Hailey Rhode Bieber (@haileybieber) on

She has previously said she finds it hard to focus on her well-being and mental health when each time she opens Instagram someone is tearing her life apart. 

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez is no stranger to social media breaks, she took one in September last year and is still not back.

READ MORE: Kendall Jenner returns to Instagram after social media 'detox'

“Update: taking a social media break. Again. As much as I am grateful for the voice that social media gives each of us, I am equally grateful to be able to step back and live my life present to the moment I have been given. Kindness and encouragement only for a bit! Just remember - negative comments can hurt anybody’s feelings,” she wrote.

Kylie Jenner

Kylie took a social media break when she was pregnant with her daughter Stormi. When she finally returned, she apologised to her followers for keeping them in the dark about her pregnancy and simply said she was avoiding stress.

READ MORE: Sophie Ndaba on being bullied for her weight: "I will fight to live"

“There was no gotcha moment, no big paid reveal I had planned. I knew my baby would feel every stress and every emotion, so I chose to do it this way for my little life and our happiness,” she wrote.

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♥?

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

Ariana Grande

After breaking off her engagement from comedian Pete Davidson, Ariana Grande took a social media break as well. She said she found it difficult to avoid news she did not want to see.

“Time to say bye bye again to the internet for just a little bit. It's hard not to bump into news n stuff that I’m not trying to see,” she wrote.

Scial Media, Instagram, Ariana Grande
Instagram screenshot

Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea once left Twitter for months after trolls flooded her mentions because she had posted a picture wearing a bikini.

“Just got back from a great vacation, came online and saw apparently it’s shocking and unheard of to be a woman and have cellulite," she tweeted before her hiatus.

Jessica Nkosi

Jessica Nkosi took a social media break before she announced her pregnancy to her followers last year.

Speaking to True Love, she said she did not want any drama. “There’s nothing scandalous about my pregnancy. Therefore, I don’t want any drama around it and I certainly don’t want anyone to have an opinion about it," she said.


Jhené Aiko

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#NY

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Jhené  Aiko went quiet on Instagram when there were nasty rumours about boyfriend Big Sean cheating on her. The gossip began to get to her and she decided to lay off Instagram for a while. She returned last year in November and disabled comments from her posts.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian took a social media hiatus after she was robbed at gunpoint in Paris. She was away from all her social media platforms and from the public eye for three months.

Kim's assistant, Stephanie Shepard confirmed the social media break. 

"Hey group, so you may have noticed we haven’t updated the app in a couple weeks but not to worry we’ve called upon Kim’s closest friends, [family] and yours truly to save up some exclusives," she said on Kim's App.

Does social media cause you anxiety? Chat to us here.

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