Finding a balance between social media, mental health

Joseph Ferrer, Staff Writer

Social media has radically changed our social climate by making us more connected to others and the world around us, but it can harshly affect a person’s lifestyle and mental health as well.

Whether it’s used for staying informed on news or posting about social activities, many people spend an increasing amount of time on social media. It can easily get to the point where social media becomes a major distraction.

It is difficult to completely separate yourself from social media.

“Sadly the reality is that if you want to talk to people, you have to spend time on social media,” junior Patrick Sammon said.

Constantly checking social media can dramatically affect one’s self-esteem; viewing other people’s activities can falsely make you think that your own personal life does not measure up to others’.

“I felt like I was being left out of things more often because I was watching other people do stuff…over time that builds up and makes you feel more isolated and alone,” Sammon said.

These emotions can fester and negatively affect one’s mental health. However, there are ways to minimize these detrimental effects.

“It’s important to put things into perspective when using social media,” freshman Taylor Wilson said.

It’s easy to feel as if our lives do not measure up to others based on what we see, but it’s crucial to recognize that what you publicly show on the internet and how other people see you does not determine your self-worth. Comparing yourself to others is unhealthy for your self-esteem, and conducting your life based on what others want you to see is even more harmful.

Decreasing the amount of time we spend on social media helps to minimize the importance we place on it. Filling the hours we spend away from social media with productive activities, such as engaging in hobbies or spending time with friends and family, can greatly improve our mental health as well.

“I try to keep my social media and my social life separate, so when I’m out with friends, I try to be present and in the moment – I’m not looking for the next picture to post on Instagram or Snapchat,” senior Alison Robles said. “And when I do look at social media, I try to limit the time I spend on it. I look at it throughout the day, but I never look at it for more than five or 10 minutes at a time.”

While social media can be a great tool for communication, it is important to understand how to utilize it in order to ensure that it does not have an overbearing negative affect on our lives and our mental health.