Instagram teen star Essena O’Neill, who is 19 and from Australia, says social media is fake and is brainwashing her generation. These comments have caused quite a frenzy on the internet and her final YouTube video titled ” Why I Am Really Quitting Social Media”, received over a million views since it was posted only 2 days ago.
Essena appeared to have every teens dream, a successful following of over 500,000 people on Instagram, endorsements and paid deals from clothing brands and modelling jobs, as well as a monthly income of over $2000 from advertising on YouTube.
However, Ms O’Neill said in her video, that none of this made her truly happy. In fact, after spending 3 years and often endless hours a day trying to create the perfect image or post, Essena says that the final product or image, was simply fake.
Often having to starve herself or calorie count, in order to have a flat tummy for a photo, Essena felt that in order to feel appreciated, she would often value her self worth and validation, on how many likes or social shares she would get.
In a world where young girls and women are subject to unrealistic ideas of beauty, Essena wants to take a stand , particularly for younger girls. Essena is standing up and using her voice and says she is doing this for her 12 year old self. At 12, Essena had low self esteem and growing up where social media and the internet were part of the fabric of her upbringing, she wanted nothing more than to be like the beautiful girls she saw on Instagram, who often received many likes or follows.
Essena’s awakening, came when she recently understood, that no matter how many followers she had, or how good her photos looked, it just didn’t feel right, it didn’t feel real. Essena told her fans that she would be closing down her social media site including Youtube and tumblr and has since launched a new website called Let’s Be Game Changers.
The site so far includes a series of Vimeo videos and blogs, of Essena encouraging us all to take a stance, in removing ourselves from the unhealthy obsessions of likes and follows on social media and to instead find real purpose and be our authentic selves.
The last video she uploaded to the site, was a video explaining how the business of social media works, how most posts and pictures are simply carefully curated,in such a way that fans and followers end up with low self esteem believing they could never be as popular, beautiful or liked.
Essena insists that social media is fake, it simply isn’t an accurate portrayal of our real lives and that everyone, particularly the younger generation and teens, are being brainwashed in an extremely unhealthy and disturbing way.
Check out Essena’s latest video on her new site here :