Healthy Social Media Habits

It is now the norm, rather than the exception, for a large proportion of our social interaction to take place via social media services, such as Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok, YouTube and many others. With today being the 11th annual World Social Media Day, we have had ample time to witness social media progress alongside technological developments, and to further research its risks and benefits. In this article, some of these potential effects are summarised, and healthy habits are provided to help you enjoy social media whilst buffering yourself against the potential hazards.   

Benefits of Social Media 

Hazards of Social Media 

What Can I Do About It? 

  1. Consider limiting your social media time. Try limiting your social media use and reflect on your experience. This can be done by using the “Screen Time” setting on iPhones, or the “Stay Focused” app on Android devices or Google Chrome.  
  1. Refrain from accessing social media prior to sleep: Try refraining from accessing technology for two to three hours before bed. If this is difficult at first, try to start with a briefer time frame such as 30-minutes.  
  1. Balance online and face-to-face interactions: Try to establish a balance between face-to-face and online social interaction. If you notice most of your interactions take place online, you might benefit from scheduling more time to connect with others face-to-face.  
  1. Be mindful of the types of profiles or pages you follow: The tendency to compare ourselves to others is a natural and inevitable process. However, following numerous pages that promote unhealthy and unrealistic beauty standards may have negative impacts on your self-esteem and wellbeing.  
  1. Take a step back and remind yourself how posts are made: When you find yourself comparing yourself to others, remind yourself that people tend to selectively present the most positive aspects of themselves on social media.   
  1. Reduce your passive social media use: Some research suggests that individuals who are active on social media (e.g., sharing life experiences, posting content, and frequently interacting with others) may experience increased emotional support and well-being. On the other hand, passive social media users who tend to observe rather than engage in posting content or interacting with others have been found to experience decreased well-being and increased social anxiety. If you notice that you spend a lot of time scrolling through social media profiles without posting any content or interacting with others, try to gradually increase your engagement and reflect on how this impacts your experience.