Social Media and Your Health
The algorithms of social media are designed to be addictive. Without being an informed consumer of social media, your mental health, self-esteem, and productivity can suffer. That being said, there are ways to have a healthy relationship with social media. It’s important to have a plan for how you will have a healthy relationship with social media. Here’s how:
–Vote with your follows and likes!
If following an account makes you feel stressed or bad about yourself do not follow or like that content. The algorithms send you content based on your likes, friends, and follows. Follow and like uplifting content! Social media can inspire you to attain your goals and feel more empowered, but only if you purposefully follow beneficial content.
–Look with a skeptical lens!
People’s social media posts are curated and out of context from reality. These posts are the highlights reel of someone’s life. You cannot tell what the behind-the-scenes of the seemingly perfect photos are like. Wonder: Is there a filter on this photo/video? Who is funding this photo/video? What does this photo/video say about being a boy/girl/person? Do I agree with that?
-Think before you share.
It is important to choose what you share thoughtfully. Consider first if what you are about to share makes you feel good/healthy/confident, or if you are changing who you are in the post to get more likes. Also, consider if what you are sharing is true. Videos and articles on the internet can go viral whether they are true or not, research carefully. When in doubt, run it by a trusted adult before sharing. An important question to consider is, “Will I regret posting this in one to five years?” Assume anything posted on the internet or through apps is permanent and can last forever. Social media is not the place for healthy conflict or discussion, share wisely.
-Set a timer, time limit, or other parameters around social media use.
Because social media is addictive, what feels like five minutes of scrolling can quickly turn into an hour or more. Set a timer for a short length of time to avoid endless scrolling. If your mental health is feeling low, consider going outside, hanging out with a friend, or petting your dog before going onto social media. Asking yourself, “Will this help or hurt how I am feeling right now?” is a great way to decide if that is a healthy time to go on social media. Choose a time of day you feel is an optimal time to use social media. For example, if you have a difficult time getting up and ready to go in the morning, that is probably not the best time to be scrolling on social media.
-If social media is harming your health or wellness, take a break!
It is important to monitor how social media is affecting your mental health. If you feel stressed, depressed, or anxious about using social media it is important to take a break. Put your mental health above the popularity of using social media. You can always go back to the social media apps once you are in a healthier place.
Now that you’re informed with the knowledge of how to have a healthy relationship with social media, make a plan! Fill out the plan pdf form below so you can set healthy parameters for yourself to protect your mental health while using social media.