By now we have all heard the warnings of how bad social media can be for you. For example, that social media, when used consistently, may paint unrealistic expectations for your life and can cause way too much overthinking.
While this is true, I think there’s a way to find a balance and make social media both beneficial and fun. It’s all about setting boundaries between you and your phone and realizing that all your accounts on social media are for yourself, and no one else.
The biggest apps out there that have the potential to be detrimental to our generation are Snapchat, Instagram and Tik Tok. These apps portray unrealistic lives and body images through editing and filters. I think we all have been there and tried to take a million different photos for a selfie just so we could look good for our feed. Personally, I don’t think this is bad, though. It’s okay to take photos and post them and feel good about how you look. Where it gets toxic is in the reason behind posting it.
If you are posting a photo and then taking it down because it didn’t get enough likes or you think you look bad in it, then it might be time to take a break from social media. However, once you start thinking of social media as your platform to express yourself, then the selfies and accounts you follow and things you see on your feed become super beneficial for yourself, and you stop worrying about the likes and comments.
Follow who you want to follow. Social media can be used to either build yourself up or knock your image down, so if you follow accounts that impact you positively and add a smile to your day, it’s a lot better for your health. This means you should follow what you find inspirational and helpful, not just who has a lot of followers. For me, that means lots of dog and food accounts and zero Kardashians. I think it’s also really important to not feel bad about muting an account or blocking someone on Snapchat or Instagram – it’s not petty. They won’t know, and you will be so much better off not seeing things that might distract you or cause you to overthink things.
Lastly, take a break. There are a million ways to enforce this ideal but I think deleting the apps for a week or two can be really refreshing. Now I know this can be scary, but your streaks and likes are not as important as your mental health. If Snapchat is distracting you from getting things in real life done, tell your friends you’re taking a break, and delete the app – they can text you. For Instagram, you can actually temporarily suspend your account so you can’t even receive notifications. You can also turn off notifications for apps for a temporary break or give your phone to a friend when studying. This is usually what my friends and I do, and it really works to stay focused on what you actually need to do instead of reacting to every notification that pops up.
In the end, you can either have a healthy relationship with social media by setting time limits, following accounts that you like and not overthinking it, or a toxic one that is difficult to break. You just have to remember that it’s supposed to be fun and that it is yours to do with what you want.