As a therapist, social media has become a common topic of discussion in session, especially with teen clients. In light of recent events, and the #deletefacebook trend, many people are taking a step back to begin examining how social media affects their lives. While it certainly has its benefits of connecting us to those who may be separated by thousands of miles, finding long lost childhood friends, and sharing life experiences, for some, social media can have a significant negative effect on mood and overall well-being.
Some studies have found that social media use can lead to poor self-esteem, increased feelings of social isolation and jealousy, poor academic performance, and sometimes relationship conflict, among other things. While that doesn’t necessarily mean social media = lower quality of life, it may mean it could be helpful to take a look at what role social media plays in your life. When you use it, do you feel better afterwards? Do you get feelings of inadequacy or loneliness? Are you finding genuine connection to others? Or are you searching for connection you feel you aren’t getting in your day to day life? Are you having trouble accomplishing tasks because of the time you spend scrolling through your feed? Do you find yourself with one eye on your phone, never fully present in your conversations? Some of these questions may be difficult to ask yourself, and you may not like the reality, but taking a closer look at how social media affects your internal world may be helpful in creating a more positive place.
There are apps such as Moment, Quality Time, and SPACE that can track what it is you’re doing on your phone and for how long. These can be helpful in seeing the reality of the time you spend scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, and it may surprise you. So take a look at your relationship with social media. Is it a healthy one? Or do you need to take a break?
Written by Elise Browne, MS
Bergland, Christopher. Psychology Today. (2017, March 7). Social Media Exacerbates Perceived Social Isolation. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201703/social-media-exacerbates-perceived-social-isolation
Griffiths, Mark D. and Kuss, Daria J. International Gaming Research Unit. (2011, August 29) Online Social Networking and Addiction. http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/8/9/3528/htm?hc_location=ufi
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