Social media has become a big part of modern life. For many of us, it is the first thing that we see the in morning and the last thing that we see at night. It's how we stay in contact with friends and family, network, stay up to date with current affairs, even find love.
With mental health being a hot topic recently (and rightly so), the question is often asked - is social media healthy? Does it cause mental health issues and how can we use it more responsibly? Social media makes our lives easier and more convenient in a plethora of ways, however, too much of a good thing is never...a good thing. The problem with social media is the fact that it is addictive, moreover it is designed that way. Also, it can facilitate a culture of comparison, resulting as what is best described by millennial-coined term 'FOMO' (fear of missing out).
Recently conducted studies have revealed the dark underbelly of social media and it can't be denied that for some people, social media does have an adverse effect on their mental health. Being aware of this is important for users, especially when it comes to setting healthy boundaries. It is also the responsibility of marketing agencies like us to ensure that we are creating content for social media that is mindful of the audience.
TIPS FOR A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
- Switch Off. Although it can be easier said than done, it is really quite simple. If you are at a dinner, do everyone a favour and put your phone away. When you go to bed at night, leave your phone in the other room to stave off any late-night scrolling urges. Those notifications can wait until tomorrow and you'll likely get a better nights' shuteye as a result.
- Night Shift Mode. If you are are a die-hard late night social media scroller and you don't see that changing any time soon, activating Night Shift mode on your smartphone something you should definitely consider. It is a nifty way to mitigate the effects that the cool light emitted by screens can have on your sleeping pattern. This cool light can imitate the brightness of the sun, which can tamper with your circadian rhythms (the hormone cycles that help to regulate sleep). You can set it to activate automatically in the evenings, adjusting it to a warmer spectrum of light.
- Turn Off Excess Push Notifications. There is no doubt that push notifications are addictive. At one point, we have all felt the uncontrollable urge to check our phones every five minutes, should there be something new. The science behind this is simple - often we get a tiny hit of dopamine every time we get a new notification, be it a like, a text or a new bit of news. Keeping the push notifications to a minimum will help train yourself to check your phone less.
- Check Your Screen Time. Knowledge is power. The Screen Time functionality on IPhones can provide you with a detailed breakdown of how much time you are spending on social media. It can even block certain apps or limit the amount of time spent on certain ones.
- Unfollow. Pay attention to what you are consuming on social media and how it generally makes you feel. If it is negative, there is nothing wrong with deploying the unfollow button.