There are hundreds of millions of people using social media on a regular basis. You might use social media to stay in touch with your family members and friends, but there is a good chance that you have come across some toxic information, content, and comments as well. If you want to maximize the benefits of social media, you must make sure that you protect your mental health as well. Why has social media become such a toxic place, and how can you protect yourself?
What Makes Social Media Platforms Toxic?
The toxic environment created by social media can have an adverse impact on your mental health. Reasons include:
- Though social media is designed to increase our interaction with other people, it can still be isolating, as you might not expose yourself to in-person interactions as often.
- Social media can have an addictive effect. You might find yourself “doom scrolling” on social media, looking for the perfect post.
- Social media can also make you feel like you are missing out on certain parts of life.
- You may find yourself comparing your life to the lives of others constantly, which can create unrealistic expectations.
These qualities can expose you to a toxic environment on social media.
How Do You Know If You or Your Children Have Been Affected?
There are several signs that you or your children could be impacted by the negative environment of social media. They include:
- You might start to develop symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- You may feel like your self-worth is defined entirely by engagement on social media.
- You frequently compare your life to the lives of others.
- You might feel jealous about things that people post on social media.
- You allow negative comments to get under your skin and impact your relationships with other people.
If you develop any of these signs or symptoms, you can learn how to protect yourself and your mental health on social media.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
There are several tips you can follow to protect your mental health while you use social media. They include:
- Limit the time you spend on social media. You might even want to download an app that can lock your social media platforms after a certain amount of time.
- Remind yourself a lot of what people post on social media is not real.
- If you find that someone’s posts or comments are making you feel bad, unfollow or block that person.
- If you feel like you are the victim of bullying or stalking, you should report that behavior immediately.
- Make sure you go out of your way to spend real-world time with family members and friends.
- Consider taking a social media break from time to time to spend time outdoors.
- Take steps to limit the information you share with others on social media.
If you or someone you know has developed mental health issues as a side effect of using social media, you should consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you.
Stay Safe While Using Social Media
In the end, these are a few of the most important tips you could follow if you want to make sure that you protect yourself while using social media. Even though social media provide you with access to a wide array of benefits, it can also expose you to a toxic environment. Make sure you monitor your use of social media and do not forget to talk to your children if you have kids who are active on social media as well.