BOSTON (CBS) – Creative cakes, cookies, and sandwiches on Pinterest. Posts about family vacations and perfect kids on Facebook. Spend even a few minutes online, and it’s easy to feel bad about your own life.
But, all those posts may not be what they seem.
“People use Facebook to compensate for their own deficiencies. Facebook highlights the positive aspects and can cover up the negative parts in you,” says psychology professor Stefan Hofmann.
Psychology professors took a comprehensive look at 22 recent studies and found most people use social networks for two common reasons: a sense of belonging and self-presentation.
“It can be an opportunity to create a life that one wants to live rather than a life that the person actually lives,” explains Hofmann.
It proved too much for Christie Crowder who decided to take a break from it all.
“I virtually unplugged from everything just to let my brain breathe,” said Christie.
Unplugging helped Christie find a new attitude about it all.
“I realized I don’t have to fit in as much as I thought I did,” said Christie.
Rene Syler wrote the book and runs the website “Good Enough Mother.”
She’s tired of the competitive parenting trend she’s seen on social media and beyond.
“Social media is a wonderful, wonderful tool. But, do you think anyone is going to put their bad foot forward? Of course not!” said Syler.
She reminds parents to put what they see on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest into perspective.
“This is not real life. I always say it’s important to parent for the people who matter in your own life. And those are the people under your own roof,” said Syler.
Christie agrees and encourages others to unplug.
“It was an experience that I really needed and recommend for anybody that can stomach it,” said Christie.