It's not unusual to have a love-hate relationship with social media. There's nothing quite as satisfying as putting your feet up after a long day and catching up with your virtual world. In the same breath, there's little as distressing your mental health as having your self-worth undermined or anxiety skyrocket because of the content that you come across.
Before we lock all of the phones away and shun the potentially useful platforms, it’s important to know the facts. As well as become familiar with how to protect yourself (and your loved ones) from the negative effects on mental health.
Impact of social media
There are some indicators that can help you determine the impact of social media on your life. Each of them could contribute to the development of depression.
Perceived Social Isolation
Research has shown an association in the number of hours spent using social media with the perception of social isolation (PSI). When people spend more time in the world of virtual reality it is possible that they forget to interact with real-world interactions.
With an ever-increasing number of beautiful people living in a perfect world, it's easy to engage in the game of comparison. Many don't know that these photos are carefully curated and the benchmark to be successful is unreasonably high.
Less Physical Activity
If social media is turned into an obsession, it could cause a person to be distracted from different physical exercises. It also reduces the release of the endorphins that result from regular activities. Dopamine is released as an alert. This dependency isn't safe or reliable.
Social media platforms aren't just addicting, but they can also be distracting. The constant urge to interact in a conversation, like, or consume information could distract you from more important things like studying.
Studies have shown that as high as 60% of teens and young adults utilize their screens before going to bed. This could have an adverse effect on their ability to fall asleep due to lighting in the dark and the flood of information. Sleep deprivation is among the most significant causes of depression.
Ways to protect your mental health from social media danger
1. Spend Less Time Online
It's more difficult to do when using your phone becomes an automatic process. There are numerous apps to assist you in keeping track of how much time you are spending on social media, thus creating accountability.
You may also opt to shut off your mobile at a specific time of the day. Do not bring it to the table for dinner or bed. You can also turn off notifications from social media.
2. Use Social Media Intentionally
When you next get your phone out and browse Instagram consider asking yourself what you are doing there. If you answer with boredom or habit, then you might be looking to switch your attention.
Social media is not without its positive aspects, however, the benefits of social media are drowned out by the negatives once social media is a chore. This is particularly true when you feel insecure when you leave the site.
3. Connect More With Friends Offline
Social media is an excellent way to meet new people However, the importance of a real-life relationship is incomparable. Making time with friends and family offline and away from smartphones can be a boon for your mental health.
In COVID-19 or social distancing, this could be a bit challenging. In this scenario, video calls with a friend or loved one may be more beneficial than scrolling in a mindless manner.
4. Practice Mindfulness