Social media has become a regular part of everyday life. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok were particularly helpful for allowing people to stay connected with friends and family during the coronavirus pandemic. However, while social media can be a valuable tool, being overly invested or dependent upon these websites can lead to unhealthy consequences.
Constant use of social media can have adverse effects on your mental health, such as:
- Lower self-esteem—It may be difficult to avoid comparing yourself to others while viewing their aesthetically pleasing photos or reading about their accomplishments.
- Lack of connection—While social media can help you stay in touch with others, it may also distract you from having meaningful, in-person interactions.
- Anxiety or depression—According to a 2018 study of 1,000 members of Generation Z, 41 per cent responded that using social media invokes feelings of anxiety, sadness or depression.
As these platforms have also become popular ways of sharing news and information, another consequence of social media use is the spread of misinformation. While staying informed is important, it’s necessary to understand that not everything shared on social media is factual.
To enjoy healthy and responsible use of these platforms, consider the following steps:
- Use the unfollow button. If a certain individual, group or page shares posts that affect your happiness or self-esteem, don’t be afraid to unfollow or block the account in question.
- Connect with others. One of the best things about social media is its ability to connect you with others. In-person interactions may not always be possible, so take advantage of these platforms to stay in touch with friends and family who might live far away.
- Share responsibly. Before posting or sharing something, consider if the content may be misleading or harmful. Boasting can make those in your network feel bad about themselves, and sharing of incorrect information can quickly spread.
- Take breaks. Balance is key for using social media. Take time to log off or ignore notifications. This may be particularly important before going to bed, as use of display screen equipment can have a negative impact on sleep.
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