Mental Health & Social Media: Keep these 3 things in mind

With last week celebrating World Mental Health day, I figured I’d write about 3 ways social media can negatively affect your wellbeing. Yes, social media is a powerful tool. But with all that power, comes danger. Let’s go over the three things to be aware about when using social media.

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Thriving for perfection

Hundreds of selfies, numerous filters and countless edits is the reality of many images being posted on social media outlets, such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. People are spending so much time arranging their meals and coffees to capture ‘perfection’. This is not real life.

People follow influencers with pretty photos, and think that that individual is living a perfect life. I’m not saying they aren’t, because they very may well be. However, chances are, a lot of work went into creating the perfect picture that fits into that individuals brand. It’s an image, not necessarily the truth.

It’s important to remember that when comparing oneself to an image found online.

Lack of human connection

 

Constantly using social media can give the false impression of friendship and companionship.  As per the Six ways social media negatively affects your mental health article, many avid users may feel lonely due to actual human contact. People spend hours upon hours on social media, creeping their friends, family members, high school acquaintances, their dog walker and many other people. Heck, I’m guilty of this. But guess what, that’s not creating a meaningful bond with these people. Just because you know that your cousin twice removed had chicken pesto pasta for dinner, doesn’t make you close to one another.

It’s also important to take time to actually connect with friends and family. Don’t spend your time on your phone during your outings! It takes away from meaningful time spent with one another.

Negativity

People think that a computer screen is protection. They can type and say horrible things. This facilitates bullying. It facilitates file transfers, it’s immediate, and it’s permanent. That being said, don’t let these negative comments get you down. If someone is bullying you online, chances are, they aren’t your friend.  As Katie Hurly stated in  Social Media and Teens: How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers’ Mental Health, it is difficult to build empathy and compassion (our best weapons in the war on bullying) when individuals spend more time “engaging” online than they do in person.  Use that negative energy and turn it into something positive. Don’t let it get you down, let it help you get stronger.

And one thing to always remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.

How do you maintain positive mental health as a social media user?

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3 Things to Think About Before Posting Pictures of Your Child

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A few weeks ago, I checking my Facebook feed for daily update and I came across a picture that really made me think. It was a picture of my friend’s child, using the potty. Harmless? This is what I thought at first, but then I started to think about it. This was a private moment, shared on a public platform. Would I be upset if my husband shared a snap of me on the can, you bet I would. I also noted that once something is online, it’s there forever. Parents, myself included, are creating an online presence for their children, whether they want it or not.  

I now think of the following three things before posting online:

Will this embarrass your child?

If yes, then don’t post! As it’s posted online, it can be found by bullies, or even employers in the future. You never know. Besides, it will be much more fun to pull out the album and show their future partner the embarrassing pictures in person. And as written in “Should you Post Photos of Your Child On Social Media?” parenting expert Michael Grose says: “With social media, there is a notion of a brand. Everyone is a brand these days, even kids. They are the future brand. So you have to be really careful about protecting that brand and what images you are putting out there.” It should be up to your child to decide their own brand.

Keep sweet (and private) moments to yourself

In a world where people immediately document everything they are doing, from making breakfast to going for a walk, it’s nice to have some privacy. No one is saying not to document your child’s every move, but maybe don’t post EVERYTHING online. Share a picture every now and then, but keep most of your pictures for yourself, and family.

Use common sense

Now this one is something that continues to blow my mind. One example that comes to mind is that I’ve seen parents posting pictures of their children naked. Yes, naked. I’m sure the intention was of a harmless nature. But come on people, there are creeps online! Many, many creeps! In the article “The dos and don’ts of posting about your kid online” they go into detail about pictures being taken, altered and shared between pedophiles. I’m feeling sick to my stomach while typing this out, as I’m thinking about all the danger that can come with posting a picture like that. All I can say is DON’T DO IT.

Do you have a set of personal rules when it comes to posting pictures of your kids, or your friend’s kids online?

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Three Things You Need to Know about Social Media

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Social media has become an integral part of society. It alerts us of any emergency situations, breaking news and even the hottest celebrity gossip. It’s a great platform to get things out into the world fast. With that being said, it’s so important to be mindful of what and how you put information out on social media.

  1. Be mindful. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t type it

Common sense, people! This one is a no brainer! Do not attack or post negative things. This can cause major backlash and let’s be real, no one needs that kind of negativity in their lives. This is why it’s important to think before posting . If a particular post or comment upsets you, take time to cool down, collect your thoughts, and to carefully craft a respectful response. Yes, a kind one.

  1. Be authentic

BE YOURSELF. Don’t try to fabricate an elaborate lifestyle or story. It’s so easy to lose touch when dealing with the world of social media. Your followers, readers or users will appreciate your authentic self. This will also build up your online reputation and your trust worthiness.

  1. Be safe.

Don’t post your location or personal details. It’s asking for trouble. I’ve got Kim Kardashian in mind while typing out this advice! DON’T post your current location if it can put you in jeopardy! Kardashian was robbed at gun point, because her robbers knew where she was, based on her social media posts. Posting that you are away on vacation is asking to be robbed! Especially if you have hundreds of ‘friends’ online.

Do you have any tips on using Social Media?

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Sources:

https://www.mindful.org/use-social-media-wisely-mindfully/

https://passionpassport.com/social-media-mindfully/