Three billion people, around 40% of the world’s population, use online social media and are spending an average of six hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting and updating on these platforms, according to some reports. That breaks down to around half a million tweets and Snapchat photos shared every minute.
When online it is easy to portray yourself as happy and living your "best life" but try to remember what you see can be easily falsified. A lot of people act happy online as a defence mechanism to hide how unhappy they are in real life. You should always take into consideration that everyone is fighting their own battles and no matter how big their smile is, it may be concealing a deeper, darker problem they face behind closed doors. Therefore, practice kindness, do not troll others, do not comment nasty things, instead spread love. Comment uplifting things, make people smile and always empathise with others.
With social media playing such a big part in our lives, could we be sacrificing our mental health and well-being as well as our time?
Being the social media generation, we begin scrolling from the minute we open our eyes in the morning to the minute we close them at night. Social media is becoming more and more dangerous as we are letting it consume our minds and sacrifice our mental health, without even realising. More and more young people are being diagnosed with anxiety and depression and the statistics in suicide rise every single year. Comparing our lives to others that we see on the internet is not healthy! Studies involving more than 700 students found that depressive symptoms, such as low mood and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, were linked to the quality of online interactions. It is such a shame as social media can be such a powerful/positive tool if used correctly, however, for some, it can lead to extremely dark places.
It is time we start to evaluate what social media does to us as individuals, start asking yourself questions: why do I use social media? What makes me feel good when I'm online? When scrolling is there anything that lowers my mood? Take your time when thinking about these questions, there is no right or wrong answer. Once you have your answers make some decisions based on how you think you handle social media, if you think it doesn't affect your mental health, maybe start talking to your friends (both IRL and online) about this topic, and maybe you'll be able to help others who need it. If you don't handle social media very well, then unfollow accounts that make you feel bad about yourself and instead follow empowering accounts that make you feel loved and worthy. Even consider taking breaks from social media, have days off where you don't check social media all days, or even just limit the amount of hour you spend scrolling and take up a hobby instead. Paint, write in a diary, cook, listen to music, watch a film, just find your YOU time! And when you are feeling down, talk! Talk to friends, family, support groups, therapists, help lines or anyone you feel comfortable with. Try to avoid holding your emotions in, as they will eat away at you and make you feel worse.
The most important thing is to always remember, you are not alone! You are loved, you are alive and you are worthy!! And if in doubt, we are always here for you if you need to talk.