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Mental Health and Social Media

It’s crazy how fast the world is developing in front of our eyes. From cars to planes, ships, the internet and now the phone.

 

At first all you could do was call, text and play snake on your phone.

 

Now you can listen to music, take pictures and pay bills. I bet the generations before us are still trying to figure out how to use their phone ha.

 

I can’t imagine my life without a phone. That sounds a bit sad but that is what we (90s babies) are accustomed to.

 

Now with your phone, you have access to social media.

 

What even is social media anyway?

According to The Cambridge dictionary, “ websites and computer programs that allow people to communicate and share information on the internet using a compluster or mobile phone: Compaies are increasingly making use of social media in order to market their goods. 

 

These days, everyone and their mama has social media. 2.4bn+ (2017) people that is!

 

Growing up, social media was just getting started. I had BEBO (remember that!!). With BEBO you were able to post pictures, write a status and play music on your homepage.

 

Facebook was introduced to the world in 2004 (I have that too), it is like BEBO but an upgraded version.

 

Twitter came knocking and changed up the game, you could only write a certain amount of words to express how you were feeling and you could retweet other users who wrote status that you liked.

 

And then came along my good old friend, Instagram; which I must admit, is the app I spend most of my time on.

 

Other honourable social media platforms include Pinterest; which is great for bloggers for promoting their websites and the array of dating apps that help people find love AND/OR get their freak on.

 

Although its great that we now have the power to connect with people across the world in a matter of seconds, social media can also have a detrimental effect on our mental health.

 

According to The Independent, sleep, memory, attention span, human connection, self esteem and mental health are all negatively affected by the extensive use of social media.

 

I must admit something.

 

Personally, I can vouch that I have experienced ALL these factors due to my overuse of social media.

 

Checking my phone is a nasty habit. I don’t have to check my phone before I sleep and just as I wake up, but I do.

 

I don’t have to constantly compare my body to the countless beautiful women on Instagram, but I do.

 

My memory isn’t what it used to be and my attention span… let’s not talk about it because any tiny little SOUND can distract me.

 

In March 2018, it was reported that more than a third of Generation Z from a survey of 1,000 individuals stated that they were quitting social media for good as 41 per cent stated that social media platforms make them feel anxious, sad or depressed.

 

Imagine constantly comparing yourself to people you have never met.

 

Comparing your life with theirs even though you only see a highlight reel of what THEY CHOSE to show.

 

We never know what people are going through behind close doors, we only know what people show us or tell us.

 

Many celebrities from Kim Kardashian to Selena Gomez took breaks from social media to focus on their mental health.

 

Just like many things in life, there are pros and cons to using social media.

 

The pros include;

  • Access information
  • Meet people from around the world
  • Share pictures with your followers

However, there are some pitfalls as well:

  • Information overload – Some gossip blogs are eager to be the first to post a breaking story without getting ALL information hence reporting news that may be untrue.

 

  • The use of social media can be addictive. Have you ever gone down the rabbit hole? You’ve seen a picture of your friend tagged in a picture with another young lady you don’t know. You click on her profile and look at her pictures. Next thing you know its 20 minutes later and through your investigation you found out that last summer the young lady went to an elephant sanctuary in Bali.

 

  • Posting pictures to impress people- You don’t want to ever look at others or likes for that matter for your happiness. And then you post another picture and you find yourself looking at your phone to see how many likes it got 5 minutes after you posted it. It is a tricky balance especially if you use social media for your business, but you just got to remain focused and realise that it is only an online profile and could disappear at any given moment.

 

  • Cyberbullying- I have been a victim of cyberbullying as many others have been as well. Some people are mean and will post negative comments on people’s pictures just because! At times, I feel for celebrities. They must have thick skin as they get bombarded with comments day in day out.

 

But with everything you got to take it with a grain of salt.

 

Social media is a blessing is a curse, some make millions from social media however some people may look at their social media presence as a source of happiness.

 

My hope for you my lovely readers is that you find a healthy balance.

 

Over this holiday, I hope you spend some time away from your phone.

 

Enjoy your time off from work and enjoy your time with your loved ones.

 

Make some great human connections and spread the love while you can.

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