Humans need social interaction – we know that much. However, too much of a good thing can still have negative impacts. Let’s talk about how Social Media overuse can make us feel lonely, and then look at how we can help to combat this feeling.
Feeling Lonely While Staying Connected
On a Personal Note:
I have recently had to seriously limit my own personal Social Media use. With the pandemic already increasing overall isolation, I found that I was turning to Social Media to fill most of my new found free time. Living alone, I felt the constant need to open every possible application and see what others were doing around me. I even found myself posting things just to make others think that I was doing more with my time than I was. I realized that it was actually making me feel more lonely. I was doing everything possible to avoid spending time with myself.
It sounds strange, but being able to stay connected to those around us so easily via technology often makes us feel more isolated. It’s like we are watching the world unfold around us, but maybe don’t know how we fit into it. We watch people living the lives that we want, and often feel envious of them (FOMO – Fear of Missing Out). This can have a really negative impact on our mental health and cause us to feel disconnected from reality. This powerful short video titled, The Innovation of Loneliness gives us some insight into this very common issue:
If You are a Person that any of this resonated with, then you are probably wondering what the next step is. I was too. Setting up Screen Time limits in your Smartphone settings can be a great starting point. Limiting your time on Social Platforms can encourage you to make more real world connections, instead of focusing all of your energy on the digital world. Also, it is important to keep in mind that not everything we see online is real. We only see what others want us to see, and vice versa. Try to use Social Platforms when you are feeling good about yourself, and not when you are feeling sad. It is much easier to be hard on yourself when you are unnecessarily comparing yourself to others. Remember to be kind to yourself and to others, we never know what people are really dealing with that they are not revealing.
I personally limited my Screen Time to 30 minutes per day for Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. It has made me more conscious of how long I am spending scrolling, and why I am even opening up the applications at all. Being conscious of why I am using my Social Platforms has encouraged me to look for more meaningful content, bringing me back to the more positive sides of Social Media.
How about you? Do you think that less time online helps to combat loneliness?
Facebook: Hey, You, It’s okay to feel lonely -> Here’s How to Cope with Loneliness from Social Media https://wp.me/p3QRy0-q5r
Twitter: Connected but Alone https://bit.ly/36YiSb0
Robinson, L. and Smith, M. M.A. (2020). Social Media and Mental Health: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm
How Much is Too Much? Technology, Screen Time, and Your Mental Health (2020). : https://centerforanxietydisorders.com/how-much-is-too-much-technology-screen-time-and-your-mental-health/
Saxby, D. P.hD. (2018). The Social Media Disconnect: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/home-base/201802/the-social-media-disconnect
The Innovation of Loneliness (2013). : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6Bkr_udado&t=9s