This year has drove us inside our homes more than ever. We’ve all taken up a number of things to try and fill our times the best we can. From all becoming master bakers, taking our chance at cutting hair or finally picking up and learning how to play the recorder.
One of the saving graces of the lockdown was how technology allowed us to stay connected to our friends and family, but our relationship with technology has to be kept under control otherwise it has the potential to spiral into something that can have detrimental effects on our mental health.
Webserv have released a resource here that provides information on social media addiction. It is described as a psychological condition that compels someone to be overly concerned about social media, spending so much time on these platforms that it impacts other aspects of their life. I’m sure over lockdown you found yourself spending hours scrolling through facebook/twitter/Instagram/Tik Tok/Reddit/other social media of choice, but knowing when to put the phone down and reconnect with the real world is important.
With all the positives that social media can bring, it is important to be able to see if the negatives are affecting you.
Studies show that a number of factors from social media use can have a detrimental effect on your mental health.
As Webserv point out one of the main ways this can occur are feelings of inadequacy from the people we follow. These might be celebrities or people we know personally but the more picture and posts you see of people who you feel are living a better life than you or, in all honesty, just know how to take a good picture can begin to make you feel a little down that you aren’t doing the same things. Of course, this isn’t true at all! A person’s social media account never accurately portrays their lives. People only select their best images and stories to post online so when we see these and feel that we aren’t ‘living our best life’ or at a similar position in life to other people, it can begin to damage our self esteem and trigger anxiety. Bearing in mind that it isn’t a true reflection of their lives and taking time out from social media can begin to improve your mental health, just by taking a digital detox.
While social media is a great place to find like minded people and communities, there is also the danger of falling into a toxic online environment. Around 60% of teenagers have reported being bullied on an online platform. This might be someone spreading rumours about you online or posting hurtful and abusive comments. These are the aspects of social media that we want to avoid and ones that can have a particular drain on our mental health. Especially during a time that is already so stressful.
So from time to time make sure you’re taking some time away from your phone. Put it in a draw, read a book, speak to your family. Sometimes disconnecting, even if just for a few hours can begin to have benefits to our mental health. Some phones offer the option of screen time locks, locking the app if you’ve used it for more than a set time throughout the day. If you’re someone who struggles to take time away, this might be a good option for you.
There’s always little changes we can make in our everyday lives ignorer to improve our mental health. Detaching from social media is just one of them but we have to do all we can to be a little kinder to each other, especially given the year we’re living through.
Have a read through Webserv’s guide for more tips on how to spot social media addiction and tips for detaching and improving your mental health.
Have a look at our video from our presenter Lorna here discussing how to build your self confidence.
ARON TENNANT is the Talks and Editorial manager and designated GDPR Data Controller for Push. He is originally from South Yorkshire and has a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Sheffield. He also has a MA degree in Creative Play and Screenwriting from City, University of London and came runner up in Nickelodeon's international screenwriting competition in 2018 and his short film ''Donkey Tooth' was screened at the London Raindance Film Festival in 2018. He is IMDB credited and alongside Push he does screenplay work for independent production companies and is working on his own independent film and theatre projects and writes articles for JumpcutOnline.com.
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