Time and time again, I’ve seen people write on social media that social media is bad for you – bad for your mental health.
Social media being the social platforms that connect us to one another: Our trusted companion, Facebook; our diary, Twitter; and our best friend, Instagram. For the purpose of this piece, when I say social media I’m referring to these three popularly used networks.
Social platforms provide us with information, empowerment, inspiration, life hacks, and some of us even find love, among many other things. It’s the first place we venture to when we open our eyes in the morning and the last place we visit at night. It’s addictive.
Now back to it being “bad”. I love social media. The things and people I see are there because I’ve put them there. I’ve added friends and family, celebrities I’m fond of, organisations I support and am a part of, news agencies I believe give me the stories I want to read, and individuals who are inspiring and motivating. What I’m exposed to is what I want to be exposed to.
If you add your aunty who shares fake forwards sent to her, then you’ll see fake forwards all the time. If you follow the latest gossip pages, then you’ll be bombarded by nasty stories about people all the time. If you follow the sensational news agency, you’ll read trash pretty often. If you follow that overly political or highly religious friend/coworker, chances are you’ll see a lot of what they hold dear. Now and then you’ll also find someone seemingly educated posting some bit of fake news or a status filled with inaccuracies. OR you can see quite a lot of what is positive and good (with a small percentage of content that will make you roll your eyes) by ensuring that YOU add / keep those persons as friends on these platforms.
I’ve said all that to say that the power to create a safe and healthy social media environment lies with YOU.
It’s easy to restrict commentary and interaction on Twitter and Instagram, than it is to do so on Facebook. Also they’re more intimate. But the onus is still on YOU to create the space that you want: A space filled with inspiration, workout videos, fashion gurus, MAGLYFE, close friends and family, just your absolute favourite “celebrities”, credible information sharers, etc.
Facebook is the real deal. It allows for quite a lot of commentary, and sharing and resharing; but luckily, it has a delete button, a mute opinion and you can unfollow but not unfriend someone. Get this, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, not the person who posts before fact-checking, not the person sharing fake news, not the person inciting racial hate or the person up to their eyeballs in political propaganda. It’s YOU!
Here’s what YOU can do:
TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK. Yes you wouldn’t die. Read a book, catch a movie, start a series, declutter your home, just make up your mind to stay off for awhile.
CLEAN UP YOUR PAGE. Delete and unfollow anyone who is draining, full of crap, king/queen fake news, totally uneducated/ “fully dunce”. We’re often afraid of cutting people off for fear of what they’ll think, or how your lists will look smaller. Mental health over foolishness for $500 Alex.
UNFOLLOW PEOPLE. Okay. For those who might think deleting is not what they want, unfollow people who are draining on Facebook, Snooze them for 30 days or something!
DON’T READ THE COMMENTS. That’s all, thank me later.
SCROLL; DON’T STOP. This is if you just want to see (but you really don’t want to see) what’s up for periods of upheavals: Kobe’s death, General Elections, COVID19. Just run your page; satisfy your need to engage / curiosity, and roll.
Take control of your space. Protect your mental health!
Featured image by Pexels
Written by Shemmy P | Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @shemmypatty