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Four YouTubers Who Abandoned Social Media to Take Care of Their Mental Health

YouTuber Michelle Phan speaks at VidCon in Anaheim California.
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

The struggle is real.  We live in a world of cyber zombies addicted to our smartphones that we underestimate how social media affects our mental health.

Over the years, several YouTube stars have stepped away from the limelight and stopped making videos all together.

Why you may ask?

The shining spotlight of social media is not always what it seems. Social media can hinder the realities of famous persons creating social anxiety, isolation, and feeling of loneliness.

Michelle Phan

Michelle Phan gained recognition for her makeup tutorials on YouTube. She explained that makeup was a way to reveal her inner self.

Despite her talent and fame, she left YouTube in June of 2017. In her last video, Phan stated that money brought her comfort and status. However, it did not bring her happiness.

Her true self was not reflected in her videos. She found herself acting differently in front and behind her camera. Seeing how much she had changed since her first video led her to leave YouTube.


KevJumba and Niga Higa both smile and hold mics while they speak on stage
Miky | Flickr

Kevin Wu, also known as KevJumba, was a YouTube star with one of the highest amount of subscribers by 2008.

However, he began to seldom post videos as he expressed internet popularity uncertainty. He did not find the platform to be very sustainable.

After retreating from the videos, he began to study spirituality at Santa Monica. While in his studies, he suffered a fatal car accident, leaving him with a broken spine and collapsed lung. After the accident, he went through a long recovery period, where he received physical and mental rehabilitation.

On the brighter side, Wu has been focusing on an acting career.

Essena O’Neill

Essena O’Neill talks about why she quit and how social media affects mental health
Simply explained | YouTube

Essena O’Neill was an Instagram model.

She left all social media platforms once she felt that social media only created an idealistic and unrealistic image of herself.

After stepping away from social media, she opened a website – Let’s Be Game Changers. However, she soon stepped down from that platform as well.

O’Neill’s decision made her prone to threats. She even thought about committing suicide.

Since her last public communication, she has been making an effort to pursue a career in writing.


YouTuber Anthony Padilla speaks at VidCon in Anaheim California
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Anthony Padilla, the co-founder of comedy channel Smosh, left YouTube when he was no longer creatively excited to create content.

Smosh had generated billions of views. Soon, the numbers became more salient than Padilla’s passion to create content. Thus, he left his YouTube career in efforts to help people who were suffering from panic attacks and anxiety, just like him.

The YouTubers show that social media created images that were unobtainable or concealed. As a result, they became detoured from their initial intentions in becoming public figures. The phenomenon ultimately led them to experience unhappiness or meaninglessness, which engendered them to forsake their fame.

By: Kahyun Kim



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