Social Media Overuse During Lockdown: How to tackle negativity online

Source: via Pikist

By Megan Evans | Advice Editor

Lockdown has caused both the younger generations and the older generations to communicate with the outside world more through mobile and various smart devices. DataReportal analysis discovered that 4.57 billion people now use the internet, which is an increase of more than 7% since this time last year.

This constant use of social networking has allowed for much more freedom of speech, as well as the ability to check up on our loved ones. However, this has also meant that people are affected by the internet and social media negatively, such as reading up on the news, which has not been the most positive and scrolling through imagery that could degrade mental health even more.

The Health Foundation released some shocking statistics in June that showed that 69% of adults, so more than two-thirds of the UK population, feel somewhat or extremely worried about the effect of COVID-19 on their livelihoods, such as through boredom, worry about the future and circumstances and general stress and anxiety. DataReportal has also proposed that 15% of people say that they expect their new habits to continue after the outbreak passes by using social media more.

Is this really a positive sign?

I discovered that using social media less in the day has increasingly impacted my mentality.

I have found much more enjoyment in partaking in fitness activities, writing more regularly in a journal, reading books that I enjoy instead of ploughing through something I genuinely dislike, and meeting friends in person within social distancing measures.

This has caused me to be more socially active instead of calling them or Snapchatting them inside the house. Instagram has also become a much more positive place for mental health and positivity through documenting the lives of every day as a source for comfort, as even the stereotypically filtered influencers have started to show off imagery of what ‘real bodies look like’.

Charlotte Price, a beauty blogger, for example, is constantly uploading content which has no filters, showing bloating, cellulite and a curvier frame, which is helping young people to see that you do not need to fit a particular mould when it comes to body shapes.

This has helped make social media a less anxious site of consistent scrolling to compare yourself to them, and embracing our qualities.

The best way to deal with the uncertainty of our future is to use social networking as a method of improving ourselves and expressing exactly what we love, whether that is through your body, through strong opinions of topics that should be spoken about, or if you want to take a ‘time-out’ and enjoy the opportunity to learn a new skill such as gardening, or learning a new instrument.

Another way that I think social networking is not necessarily the best method of coping through lockdown is by seeing the highlights reel from social sites of what the pre-COVID-19 life was like, and trying to force this as a method to cope.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t do right now, plan ahead to the future and focus on the here and now. There are so many opportunities that can be missed if you are misusing your phone and stopping yourself from living in the moment.

Embrace the things that you can do rather than focusing on the things you can’t.

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