Is Social Media Really All That Bad?

In my last blog article, I discussed the numerous downsides of social media. However, social media is not all negative! Even though the downsides I mentioned are real, research indicates that:

  • Students who experience low self-esteem can take advantage of social media and its capability to bond them with others in order to pull themselves up from slumps in their mood.
  • Social media can help with socialization. Studies indicate that introverted adolescents can actually gain social skills by using social media.

Social media has a role, a growing role at that, in our lives and futures. It behooves each of us to understand the effect of social media on our thoughts, emotions and behaviors and to become more aware of both the negative and positive effects it is having on us.

A few things you can do to combat the effects of social media are:

  • Remember that what we see in a picture or post is the ‘idealized’ version of the other’s reality. Appreciate that the photo like was edited and that the scenario likely was staged.
  • Be careful to not ‘over-share’ or disregard your own privacy filters. If you would not be comfortable telling someone something face-to-face, then it likely is not appropriate to say over social media either.
  • Bring awareness to the amount of time you spend on social media each day. Do you use Facebook as a distraction at work? Do you open up Instagram when you are at a red light or while you are at the dinner table? Setting limits for yourself, your team at work and your family regarding social media use will help to
    • Limit the decrease in productivity you experience because of it
    • Reinforce in-person connection and interaction by focusing on the people in front of you rather than those on your screen
    • Help you to monitor social media’s addictive nature and effects on your life
  • Lastly, if you are concerned or do not know where to start, try taking a day or week hiatus from social media and see how you do. See what else you can fill your time with and monitor your mood. Are you happier? Feel more connected? The only way you will ever really know the effect of social media on you is if you try to go with out it.

The key to using social media is being aware of the affects it is having on your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Once you start to notice trends in how it affects you, both negatively and positively, you can more consciously choose how to navigate your relationship with social media.

If you want to learn more about social media and its affect on us, you can watch my segment on the Charlotte Today Show in March available here.


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