Is There a Healthy Way for Students to Use Social Media?

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There was a surge in social media traffic during the pandemic period as schools and most activities were on lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The internet offers children access to several valuable information and endless entertainment, but it comes with some danger. Since most of their learning was done online, there were tendencies for them to deviate to other platforms or websites when not properly supervised, this might have caused social media addiction.

The majority of children use these social media platforms regularly to stay connected with friends and family, enhance their creativity by exploring new ideas or composing songs, and meet and interact with kids of similar interests. But most of them engage in unhealthy use of social media, always staying online scrolling through feeds endlessly. This is actually affecting the mental health of many users, this is why we’ve crafted a few healthy habits for social media use.


Social Media is not all that Bad

It is important to note that social media has brought many positives into our lives. If not, people would not have adopted it. It advanced from being a fun way to stay in touch with friends and, to an internationally utilized tool for networking on various levels. For years, social media has also been an incredible platform for activism and promoting social change through the years, and especially during the pandemic has helped many of us feel connected to the world in a time of forced isolation.

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When it starts getting bad

Unfortunately, people have been able to ruin social media by misusing it and misusing it. For as long as I can remember, parents have always been careful when it comes to their children using social media, especially in this age when there is unlimited access to technological devices. Parents’ concern about this is valid, and researchers have shown that social media is pretty detrimental to our development and mental health when it is used improperly, linking its usage to increased rates of depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, poor communication skills, low self-esteem, and impulse control problems.


How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

It is possible to use social media and have good mental health practices. You just need to be mindful of your digital life and careful about the habits you build around it. Here are a few ways you can keep social media from controlling your every move;

  1. Set limits
  2. Have detox period
  3. Monitor screen time
  4. Connect with more friends offline
  5. Use social media intentionally

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1.   Set Limits

The use of technology should be to your own advantage. Rather than spend time online doing nothing productive, you should set limits for yourself. Mobile devices these days now have options where you can set up timers for your applications. Figure out what a healthy amount of time per day is for you, and make sure your phone, tablet, or computer kicks you OFF of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. when you go beyond that time limit.


2.   Have Detox Period

The detox period can also be referred to as breaks. So if social media is the first thing you wake up to in the morning and the last thing you get at before you sleep, then you definitely need to take some time off those platforms. At first, you might think it is impossible to do such, but once you start, you will see how beneficial it is to have a life off the internet. You do not necessarily need to take months off, but not using the apps for certain weekends is such a good way to start your detox procedure. It is important to take a step back and focus on other things besides your phone screen.

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3.   Monitor Screen Time

If the idea of utilizing a detox period from social media sounds a little intimidating, I would recommend setting limits on your phone’s screen time. The great thing about mobile devices is that you can go into your phone’s settings and limit how much you can access specific apps throughout your day. This makes taking a break from social media more manageable and limits how much you can stare at your phone screen, it will help you to be more involved in your daily life outside of social media. I would recommend setting a time limit for the apps you’re most addicted to, along with turning off your access to social media before bed.


READ MORE: Screen Time: When Is It Too Much For Kids?


4.   Connect with more Friends Offline

Although social media is a great and easy way of staying in contact with friends, it’s not enough to maintain healthy relationships. Instead of keeping a Snapchat streak with your friend that lives on your floor, go out to lunch and catch up! It’s important to maintain real-life, in-person interactions and is incredibly beneficial for your mental health. If you have exciting news to tell your friends, don’t post it on your story, call your friends and tell them over the phone! There are so many ways to interact with your friends and family offline and it is important to maintain those relationships both on and off-screen.

Image Credit: Biltmore Psychology

5.   Use Social Media Intentionally

Try to adjust the way you utilize social media. Instead of using Instagram, Snapchat, or Tik Tok as a mindless way to pass time, use social media in a more intentional way. If you’re bored and find yourself mindlessly scrolling, stop and think about what you want out of your social media use. Are you wanting fashion tips? A reason to smile? Check up on your friends and family. Changing the way you see your own social media use, it will better your relationship with the apps and help protect your mental health. Give yourself a reason to open the apps. And if you can’t think of one, don’t scroll, do something else!

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