Don't replace real life with social media - Deepstash

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How to use social media, according to a mental health expert

Don't replace real life with social media

When used thoughtfully and deliberately, social media can be a useful addition to your social life, but only a flesh-and-blood person sitting across from you can fulfill the basic human need for connection and belonging.

Using Facebook to keep abreast of your cousin’s life as a new mother is fine, as long as you don’t neglect to visit as months pass by. 

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Limit social media

Using social media can interrupt and interfere with in-person communications

  • Commit to not checking social media during meals and when playing with children or talking with a partner. 
  • Make sure social media doesn’t interfere with work
  • Don’t keep your phone or computer in the bedroom – it disrupts your sleep.

Have ‘detox’ periods

Schedule regular multi-day breaks from social media. 

Pay attention to how you feel

Experiment with using your favorite online platforms at different times of day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel during and after each session.

You may find that a few short spurts help you feel better than spending 45 minutes exhaustively scrolling through a site’s feed. 

Social media

The rise of social media has meant that we as a global population are more connected than we have ever been in the history of time. 

However, our reliance on social media can have a detrimental effect on our mental health.

Self-esteem

A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that many people suffer from “Facebook envy”, with those who abstained from using the popular site reporting that they felt more satisfied with their lives. 

Becoming more conscious of the amount of time you spend scrolling through other people’s online profiles could help you focus more on yourself and boost your self-confidence.

Human connection

It’s so important for us to be able to communicate and forge personal connections with one another. However, it can be hard to do so when we’re glued to rectangular screens, becoming more acquainted with our friends’ digital facades than their real-life personas.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology that assessed 5,208 subjects found that overall, regular use of Facebook had a negative impact on an individual’s wellbeing. 

Social media less harmful
The public and experts alike have blamed social media for a long list of mental health issues, including rising rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior among America’s youth. But research on the subject is conflicting.
Social media is associated with mental health issues, the research says—but only under certain circumstances, and only for certain people. 
Why girls are more affected

In girls, frequent social-media use seemed to harm health when it led to either cyberbullying and/or inadequate sleep and exercise. 

But these factors did not seem to have the same effect on boys, and the study didn’t pick up on specific ways that social networks could be harming them.

Balance is important
The message, really, is that it’s not social-media use, per se, that causes harm,” says study co-author Dasha Nicholls, who leads the Child and Adolescent Mental Health research team at Imperial College London. 

“It’s about getting a balance between social-media use and other age-appropriate activities, and ensuring that there aren’t specific negative things happening online."