By Jermaine Rowley
Let’s face it, the majority of us feel the need to constantly check our social media throughout the day, whether it’s because we want to see what our friends are doing, post a picture or video, or to just pass the time.
“With social media, I have a convenient means to receive and share information,” junior landscape architecture major Kamani Brown said. “Social media helps me feel connected with people who I no longer keep close contact with.”
Social media is a crucial part of our daily routine. However, spending too much time in front of a phone or computer screen has some consequences when it comes to our mental and emotional health.
The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reported that there was a negative relationship between social media platforms and self-esteem. Since self-presentation is a significant factor, social media causes a promotion of narcissistic behavior. Users of social media feel like they have compare themselves — looks, achievements, likes — to other users, which in turn affects self-esteem.
As social media continues to grow, so does technology. According to Academicearth.com, brain images of everyday internet users present more activity in short-term memory than people who use the internet periodically. This means that our brains are beginning to discard information that we see online and are less likely to remember what we see.
Due to the negative impacts of social media and technology, we must maintain our mental and emotional health. Foremost, since social media relies so heavily on virtual communication, get out from behind that computer or phone screen and have more face-to-face interactions. Not only does this help you become a better communicator, but it also aids in building stronger relationships with classmates, family and friends. This is important when it comes to networking opportunities, which are critical for college students.
Junior journalism and society major Liana Gongzalez is more of a face-to-face communicator.
She said, “I prefer to just connect with people naturally and genuinely on a daily basis, but they’re more glued to their phones.”
Dedicating more time to leisurely activities is also a great way to maintain your mental and emotional health when it comes to technology and social media stress. This involves participating in activities that you enjoy without posting a picture, video or updating a status on your whereabouts. An hour or two without social media won’t kill you.
Getting more sleep is another method to avoid social media stress. Seven or more hours of sleep is important. Many of us lose those essential hours by scrolling through our feeds late at night. Try to take a relaxing bath before bed so your body can unwind, or put your phone on do not disturb mode. Those techniques should minimize the urge to check your social media platforms.
Social media is a major asset to our world, but it can also be harmful if people become dependent on it. If you learn to effectively balance your usage, you will be able to prevent it from damaging your mental and emotional health.