Social media is everywhere, we use it everyday in some shape or form. Here are some tips on using social media to improve your mental wellbeing.
You should be able to enjoy engagement on your social media platforms, but sometimes it can become “toxic” and for some people, damaging to your mental wellbeing, particularly for teens and young adults.
This term is used a lot when talking about social media. Content becomes toxic when some users of the social media post derogatory, aggressive, confrontational, angry or abusive responses to that content. These users could be antagonists or defenders of the content, but invariably it spirals into slanging matches. If you find yourself embroiled in this type of content you should leave the conversation. There are many people who “get their kicks” from this behaviour, and it may even feel like fun, but this is simply bullying of the worst kind. Time to turn off the app.
You are in charge of your account and your content. Only post material you would be happy to read. Only follow material you choose to follow.
Social media companies main goal is to lure you in and spend more time on their platform through use of pop-ups, suggestions and carefully crafted advertising. It’s important to take notice of this, as your time and data is valuable to these companies, and you become the commodity.
Setting a screen time limit is very useful to stop yourself getting sucked in.
Manage your feed and unfollow/delete accounts that are consistently false news, negative, mean, rude, or bullying. If you feel anxious or irritated after seeing a post/using an app – it’s a sign you should stop spending time on that person/app.
If you find yourself getting involved in toxic threads it’s time to turn it off. Negative behaviour is detrimental to a healthy mental wellbeing.
Social media can be a fun way to socialise, but it shouldn’t be the only way. Try and meet-up in person, and where that isn’t possible, use alternative medium to chat. This isn’t always possible for those who live far apart (or indeed in current covid times), but try to use other features such as video chat.
If you follow a lot of people and enjoy their content, consider splitting up your viewing/reading over a few days to limit your time on the app/platform.
If you like to create content, try and keep it down to a few subjects (perhaps 2-3 things) you are passionate for too limit how much time you spend on social media. You can make joke posts and have fun, but try to keep your own content upbeat and positive.
Consider who you want to see your content – there are several tools within social media apps to limit who can see your content. If you wish to share content publicly, be aware not everyone will see your post the way you want them too. Never engage with negative responders, nothing healthy can come from it. Use the social media’s tools to block these from seeing/commenting on your content.
Sometimes content that is intended to be harmless becomes misconstrued and toxic. Double-check any content you are creating, if it can be misunderstood – there is a reasonable chance it will be. If you feel it can be misunderstood do not post – or limit who can view the post to close friends.
You may think it is fun to lightly mock someone’s content, perhaps with an “insider joke” – but as per above – if the recipient (or their followers) does not understand the joke/reference it can easily break down and become toxic. Toxic content can attract the wrong kind of people, “trolls”, people who enjoy bullying online. When you come across these types of people it is better for your mental wellbeing to use the social media tools block these people.
Once you have committed your content to the digital landscape it is there forever more – even if you “deleted it”. Even if you limited who can see the post – if it is truly privet and/or personal be aware that it can still be shared via screenshots, forwards, download/upload etc. “Never share anything you wouldn’t want your parents/carers to see” is a good tip to remember.
If someone is asking for private material you do not wish to share – use the social media tools to block them.
You should never feel like you must share content you are not comfortable with sharing. If you do it’s time to turn it off.
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