It’s been suspected for a while that social media isn’t good for our mental health.
There is growing evidence, though, that it’s not as black-and-white as that.
As it turns out, it’s how we use the online world that makes it good or not-so-good for us. And it is absolutely possible to use social media in ways that make it better for us. Here are some ideas:
One of the biggest risks of being on social media is cyberbullying and trolling.
While you can’t control how others behave online, you can make sure your interactions – whether with friends, people you don’t know, news sites and organisations – are kind.
Always remember that behind every profile picture (even those of organisations), there’s a person who should be treated with kindness.
While online it’s a good idea to keep in mind what our grandmothers used to say: if you don’t have anything nice (or constructive) to say, don’t say anything at all!
Connect with others
One of the great benefits of social media is that it helps us build relationships.
We can meet like-minded people, as well as stay in touch with those we already know, no matter where they live.
Whether we’re chatting, sharing memes, tagging each other in posts that make us laugh, or organising catch-ups, there are a range of ways to stay in touch.
Don’t use it as a replacement for other types of connection
Loneliness has been a concern for those who use social media a lot. It’s a good idea to remember that chatting online isn’t a replacement for other types of connection. We all still need to see our friends and families, chat on the phone, and have meaningful conversations in real life.
Be careful who you follow
A powerful way to make social media better for you is to carefully choose who you follow.
Connect online with people who make you feel good, trusted news sources, causes that increase your awareness of important issues, and entertainment that you enjoy. This can help to outweigh the negativity and nastiness that can appear on our screens.
Limit your time online
We’ve all been caught out: scrolling through your social media feed, before realising that time has flown by. Sometimes this information overload can make us feel anxious, on edge, or cause sleeplessness.
Try setting an alarm for yourself, or using an app that tracks your usage and provides tips for cutting it down.
With a little consideration, social media can become a powerful tool that makes life a little nicer.