Social media use has only increased during the pandemic, as more and more people turn to the internet to cope with the lack of social interaction and stress during these times. It’s easy to turn to our phones when we get bored and nowadays it may seem like that’s the only option. This sudden loss of structure and routine in our day-to-day lives is hard to deal with. But there are issues that come with increased time spent on social media.
Even prior to pandemic many of us were warned of the dangers of being addicted to our phones. Just because the pandemic has provided more time to fill for many of us doesn’t mean we should ignore those warnings.
Social Media and Our Mental Health
Social media can lead to unhappiness and insecurities with oneself when used too much or not appropriately. Our favourite media sites can be responsible for many of the insecurities we deal with in our lives. When you’re exposed to often exaggerated and seemingly perfect lives that other people post, it’s easy to make comparisons between yourself and the people on your screen. The more you partake in this social activity, the more this feeling festers and can lead to unhappiness for things that you would otherwise wouldn’t care about. This can be related to your current circumstances, friendships or even becoming more self-conscious of your body. These new found insecurities can severely impact your mental health.
Social media is not a good substitute for meaningful connection and is also not the best place to invest your time. To an extent it can provide benefits by helping you stay connected and in touch with real friends despite the distance. But once a line is crossed it becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism that has to be dealt with.
What should I do?
What can you do to prevent yourself from getting addicted to social media? Even if you’re conscious of the negatives effects of social media on your mental health, it may seem difficult to escape from its grasp. After all, it was designed to grab your undivided attention, and during COVID there’s not much else to do.
Set virtual boundaries
Limit the amount of time you spend on these apps. Allocate a small amount of time that you are allowed to be exposed to social media. Get an app that tracks your usage and set alerts when you exceed your daily amount. Consider turning off your notifications and only checking updates at specific times during the day. Little changes like these can create a more healthy relationship with social media, and allow you to create healthy boundaries.