Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Showing off on social media isn’t just for the rich kids of Instagram. New research shows the majority of moms feel pressure to appear well off on social media.
For every day people — moms included — a daily visit to Facebook is often an assault of cyber friends’ new cars, expensive strollers and pricey family vacations.
“Keeping up with the Joneses is actually keeping up with the e-Jonses, thanks to Instagram and thanks to Facebook,” said Laura Gelman, lifestyle contributor for BabyCenter.com.
It all leads to what experts call financial insecurity. BabyCenter’s Cost of Raising a Child Report found 60 percent of moms feel pressure to appear well off on social media as well as envy or embarrassment about their own financial situation.
Nicole Perez, mom of a 6-year-old tot, said the constant influx of material possessions on social media “makes you feel as if you are a failure as a mother. It’s heartbreaking when your child says ‘mom, when you get enough money can I get that toy?'”
Perez said that family trips to Disney are all over her Facebook news feed, something that’s just not possible in her current financial situation.
She’s not alone. Colleen, a mom of two who preferred to use her first name only, admitted to “a habit of checking out the material ‘clues’ in the backgrounds of people’s Facebook photos: kitchen cabinets or expensive furniture. I suppose it sort of creates a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ feeling, and I’m sure I’m projecting all sorts of comparisons that might not even be there.”
Gelman said beyond the emotional stress these feeling can cause, there are very real financial concerns.
“There’s a lot of maxing out of credit cards and buying things you can’t afford. Which is really unfortunate just so you can go online and say ‘look what I’ve done for my kids,'” she said.
Robin Danks is a recently divorced mom of two who tries to see beyond what she sees on social media.
“You take every picture like that on Facebook and I think you uncrop it. And what do you see outside of that? Every one of us is going to have something outside of that, whether it be the child that takes an hour and a half to do 20 minutes of homework or the sick parent in the next room or the empty alcohol bottle. There’s something in everyone’s life,” Danks said.
While quitting social media is always an option, it’s not an option for everyone.
“No way could I quit,” said Perez. “I’m too nosy. Also there are good things about it — seeing happy families enjoying themselves, that’s a beautiful thing. It’s not their fault it makes me feel bad.”
Danks also agreed getting off social media wasn’t something she wanted to do.
For anyone who has been in the dumps after being on social media, she said, “I would suggest people really think about their life. There’s at least one good thing in your life that you can’t buy with money and instead focus on how important that is.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio