The supermodel has opened up about the pressure of living in the age of social media

By Jillian Ruffo
February 28, 2018 05:09 PM

Gigi Hadid has a PSA for her fans about the dangers of social media — and instead of Tweeting or Instagramming about it, she’s using the back of her cellphone case in order to share the message.

The 22-year-old runway model stepped out during Paris for fashion week clutching her cell phone, which is wrapped in a case from Urban Sophistication that reads: “Social Media seriously harms your mental health.”

It’s not the first time the star has been outspoken about the negative effects of being tied to the internet. The supermodel took a break from social media in 2016 and again in 2017, “because it’s good for the soul.”

“I’m going to take a break when I feel like it and when I come back and share it with you if you want to be supportive and still follow me I’m so grateful for that,” she told PeopleStyle about her Instagram hiatus last year. “But if you’re going to be negative or be upset that I had to be human for a month than maybe I don’t want your follow anyway.”

Credit: Beretta/Sims/Shutterstock; Inset: Pierre Suu/GC Images)

And there is some validity behind her case’s message, according to Dr. Ethan Gorenstein, Clinical Director, Behavioral Medicine Program, Dept. of Psychiatry, Columbia University. On top of simply being a major time suck, constant scrolling through your feed can lead to feelings of uneasiness and insecurity.

“On social media, people tend to share the most ‘amazing’ things that they are doing. And, people observing it can feel lacking, not recognizing that the sharing is selective,” he explains. “People don’t share the most ‘miserable’ things that they are doing. Similarly, people can become too caught up in whether what they themselves are sharing is ‘liked’ or not, and seek misplaced validation through the number of likes they receive (and become obsessed with it).”

So if you can’t stop scrolling, Gorenstein has a few pointers — including taking a page out of Hadid’s book and taking a hiatus — or quitting Instagram altogether.

“If you are spending too much time on social media, you may need to devise strict limits (for example, no more than a half hour a day); alternatively, it may be helpful to abstain completely for a day or several days, just to ‘detoxify’ and become less dependent,” he says.

Also, he recommends reminding yourself that what you see on Instagram isn’t always real life. “Don’t take literally the ‘amazing’ things that people are saying and sharing, as everyone’s life is complicated and has its pluses and minuses.”

Of course, Gigi isn’t the only person in her circle who feels constant pressure from life in the spotlight. Her very own sister, Bella Hadid, recently opened up about how the demands of the industry and keeping up appearances on social media feeds into her anxiety.

“Believe me, I get it and I understand it,” Bella told a contestant on her mom’s reality show, Making a Model With Yolanda Hadid. “I was totally there. My sister [Gigi Hadid] is very bubbly and very out there, and I was always very reserved. I would literally start crying and shaking if I had to do interviews at red carpet events. It was really nerve-racking and it’s scary, and it’s not only you.”

“It gets a lot better once you have to talk to people every day,” she added. “Then you’re like, ‘Okay, I guess it’s my job, I have to do it!’”

And Gigi’s best friend, Kendall Jenner, has recently opened up about her struggles with anxiety. Ahead of skipping all of fashion month this season, Jenner told her mom on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that traveling for fashion month was too much for her.

“There’s a lot that happened this past year, starting with like, Kim’s robbery,” she said on the show. “Then I got robbed, and I had my stalkers. That’s why I don’t really like going out anymore. That’s why I don’t tweet, that’s why I don’t Instagram. That gives me anxiety, too. I swear, it’s the craziest thing.”