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Navigating Through Social Media Toxicity

By Carissa Sroka
News Services Marketing and Communications Assistant

In our world, today, social media can have an incredibly positive or negative impact on a person’s life. Young people feel pressured to keep up with the latest trends and be socially accepted by their peers. Using social media to express yourself and stay connected can promote positivity. But when does social media stop providing a sense of happiness and become toxic?

When not used correctly, social media can become a place of insecurity, comparison, and perfectionism which can be detrimental to mental health. Most social media influencers choose to portray a “perfect” lifestyle which can cause viewers to question their image and decisions. In reality, a small glimpse of an influencer’s life is shown on social media and typically only the good things. Seeing these “perfect” influencers can start to impact your own mental health on social media negatively. When a platform on social media begins not to feel fun anymore or like a place you find yourself comparing your looks and accomplishments to others, it is usually a good indicator you could use a detox from social media.

Detox from social media is as simple as taking a break from viewing media that negatively impacts your mental health. You can choose however long you would like the break to be and how you want to go about it. Small or large, taking a break can give you time to work on your mental health, get back into reality, and realize that not everything in life is as glamorous and perfect as seen on social media.  

 Tips for Taking a Healthy Break from Social Media 

  1. Decide which social media you feel will be the best to get away from for a period. You can choose one platform or maybe you want to take a break from multiple. When taking a break from social media, it is entirely up to you on what you decide is best for you.  
  2. Choose how long you want to take a break or limit your usage. A healthy break from social media does not require you not to use the platform at all. Something as simple as limiting your daily usage can benefit you.  
  3. Take the time off social media to work on yourself and make sure your mental health is being positively impacted. During this time, focus on what truly makes you happy whether it is going for a walk, hanging with family/friends, or watching your favorite movie.  

Now that you have taken your time to get away from social media, maybe you are ready to jump back in. But how do you do that without getting caught up in the toxicity social media can cause?  

Maintaining A Healthy Relationship with Social Media 

  1. Unfollow accounts that are not making you feel like your best self. If you see a post while scrolling and it makes you feel unhealthy, unfollow it and keep scrolling! This way, you are no longer seeing posts that put you down. 
  2. Fill your social media feed with posts that make you happy. Depending on what you like, there are billions of accounts to follow. It could be a motivational quotes page, recipes or even your favorite sports team. Follow pages that will make you feel good.  
  3. Set a time you will allow yourself to spend time on social media. Having a set time will enable you to use your favorite platforms still while also allowing you from endlessly scrolling, which can lead to getting caught up in the social world.