Social media has been helpful in connecting people across the world, especially during this Covid 19 pandemic. However, studies have shown that prolonged usage of social media can cause depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness.
Social Media is not detrimental to mental health in itself, but how we use it can unlock a range of problems. Take Instagram for example. Since its launch a decade back, this uber popular app has become a platform to display a gallery of people’s lives, devoid of imperfections. Hashtags like #FOMO, #YOLO, #WeekendVibes, #SquadGoals etc. were made popular through social media. It made whoever was not having a picture-perfect time feel like their lives did not measure up. This YouTube video that has racked in over five million views shows how teens struggle to stay away from their phones.
Here are nine tell-tale signs that your mental health is compromised because of social media:
The first thing you do when you wake up is check your socials
You’re always comparing your life with others through their posts
You rely on your number of followers or likes on your posts for your self-worth and confidence-boost
You constantly check your phone during a conversation
It depresses you when someone leaves your DM chat hanging on “seen”
You frequently plan your activities with social media in mind
You have difficulty accepting your body image after spending time online
Your sleep habits have gone for a toss because of all the late-nights scrolling through 9gag!
Most importantly, it is taking precedence over your time for prayer and reading the Word of God
So, do we go cold turkey and delete all the apps from our phones? We leave that to you to decide. If you find enough pros to remain connected online, here are eight tips to help you find the right balance:
1. Watch the Netflix documentary ‘Social Dilemma’. This is an eye-opening and insightful documentary film that explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.
2. Assign times in the day when you turn off your phone or wi-fi. Or even better, turn your phone on only after completing your important morning ritual and turn it off atleast 2-3 hours before bedtime. How about even taking one day off in a week from your phone. You will grow to enjoy these no-phone time zones!
3. Become more conscious and aware of the time you spend online. Social media platforms like Instagram lets you see the average amount of time you have spent on the platform. Some apps like AntiSocial will help you keep a check on your social media usage.
4. Make a deal with your friends and family to have your phones on silent and put away from sight during your quality time. Foster real relationships through meaningful conversation without the distraction of a notification bell.
5. Keep occupied with things that matter—a project, a skill-learning course, or a hobby. When you work on things you love, you will find that time flies by and you have not checked your phone once!
6. Spring-clean your socials. Unfollow or unfriend any account that evokes any negative feelings or those that don’t bring any value to your life. Instead, lean into content that inspires and motivates you. This way you are taking control of the content you consume.
7. As much as you receive content, you also input your thoughts and ideas into this “digiverse”. Commit to engage positively.
8. Remember, what you see on social media is neither 100% real nor can it replace real-life authentic relationships. Technology should make our lives better and not the other way round.
9. Find someone to pray with you and keep you accountable on your social media habits.
Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above! - Colossians 3:2
We’re rooting for you. All the very best!