Volunteer Blog – Breaking Up with Social Media

By Zainab Habib
August 19, 2020

In today’s technologically advanced society, we spend a lot of time using digital devices. Some aspects of this use of electronic devices may prove beneficial to us; being used to aid our learning and help us in understanding concepts better, but it may also prove to be a distraction. The exposure to technology can be seen as advantageous as it offers potential benefits, especially during a pandemic where we feel so disconnected from everyone. However, reasonable concerns regarding the risk of a child’s social development being compromised have been raised.

Having used social media excessively these last few months, I believe that the negative impact it has had on my mental health outweighs the benefits. Yes, it allows me to stay in contact with all of my friends and stay connected, but it also makes me waste precious time I could easily spend doing something more productive.

Research of anxiety and depression in teens, by the University of Glasgow, claims that the exposure to the digital world is a major cause of anxiety, self-consciousness and mental health issues. Nowadays, instead of using social media to communicate with friends, the younger generation uses it to notice their friends’ achievements and compare their lives to their friends’, resulting in depressive symptoms. According to a research from the School Of Medicine at University Of Pittsburgh it is stated that exposure to the digital world from a young age may increase the risk of one being exposed to negative interactions. This includes the increased risk of psychological illnesses.

With regards to the COVID-19 outbreak, social media has a significant impact on spreading fear and panic, negatively influencing people’s mental health and psychological well-being. Misinformation, excessive amount of negative news and over exposure to other people’s life achievements has the potential to put one in a bad mood and harm their mental health. It is a common practice for one to turn to social media for entertainment as quarantine and isolation continue. However, this has its negative impacts since excessive exposure to social media results in one comparing themselves to others, leading to low self-worth, and feelings of dissatisfaction, depression and anxiety.

Thus, I feel that it is vital that we limit our usage of social media, especially during this pandemic. Setting time limits on how much time we spend on our phones scrolling through social media might as well be the solution to not letting the negative effects outweigh its benefits. It is important to remember: if you find yourself feeling like you aren’t good enough, replace your self-criticism with self-compassion. Remember there’s no need to be passionately inspired or wildly joyful every moment of every day, and if you’re going through a difficult time, be kind to yourself.