By: Jennifer Chu
Amy spends a lot of time scrolling on Instagram, where she sees glamorous photos showcasing friends’ exciting adventures and seemingly perfect lives.
Comparisons grew like weeds, choking her confidence. Over time, what started as innocent curiosity became a battle with insecurities.
David’s fascination with YouTube spiralled into a time-consuming habit. What started as a quick video during breaks gradually engulfed his evenings. Hours slipped away as he hopped from one video to another. Soon, he realized that YouTube watching had robbed him of precious time for other activities.
Social Media and Mental Health
Does either of the above scenarios sound familiar? Perhaps someone close to you are having similar struggles? Perhaps you find yourself spending more than intended lengths of time on social media every single day? While it offers opportunities for social interaction and information sharing, its impact on mental health is a topic of growing concern. The constant exposure to curated lives and unrealistically positive content can lead to feelings of inadequacy and comparison, potentially fuelling low self-esteem. Moreover, the addictive nature of scrolling and the fear of missing out can contribute to anxiety and isolation. Cyberbullying, privacy concerns, and the overwhelming influx of information can also take a toll on mental health.
A World Heading Towards More Social Media Use
All the while, in our current world, 25% of the global population has grown up without ever experiencing a world untouched by social media, and the trajectory of the trend is going to continue. As time progresses, more individuals will be immersed in the world of social media, shaping not only the way people interact and communicate but also influencing various aspects of life and culture on an even greater scale. Therefore, fostering a sense of awareness and using these platforms conscientiously is essential to safeguard our mental well-being and maintain healthy interpersonal connections in an increasingly digital world. Here are a few recommendations for using social media in ways that won’t negatively impact our mental well-being:
8 Tips for Social Media Use
- Follow Positivity: Subscribe to or follow channels/accounts that provide positive, useful contents.
- Regular Unfollow: Periodically unfollow accounts or “hide” friends whose posts negatively affect your mental wellbeing.
- Gratitude Journaling: Use Instagram as a gratitude journal by posting photos of things you’re thankful for. This can help shift your focus to the positive aspects of your life.
- Authentic Sharing: Share moments that truly matter to you, rather than seeking validation through likes. Authenticity fosters genuine connections.
- Meaningful Engagement: Instead of passive scrolling, engage in meaningful conversations on posts that align with your interests and values.
- Supportive Groups: Join Facebook groups focused on hobbies, causes, or support networks. Engaging with like-minded individuals can boost your sense of belonging.
- Creative Outlet: Express your creativity by creating your own short videos on topics that interest you on Tiktok. This can be a fun way to engage with the platform.
- Limit Binge-Watching/Scrolling: Set a timer for video consumption or photo scrolling to avoid losing track of time and neglecting other important activities.
If you are struggling more than usual to break away from your social media habits, it may be worth having a chat to a psychologist, who can help you work towards healthier habits.