Take a break from social media

By Thunderword Staff

Sometimes, it is time to unplug and face reality.

Since the introduction of TV, kids have been warned away from screens, being told that too much will rot their brains. While fears of rotting are unsubstantiated, technology has changed everything, especially with the rise of social media.

With cell phones and the internet, modern life is connected in new ways. Apps like Snapchat, Messenger, and Instagram all make communication instantaneous. On the wider scale, hundreds of social media options now connect billions of people globally.

But while social media is connecting the world, the consequences of extensive use is worrisome.

There is a general understanding that social media negatively influences health. Extensive social media use has been linked to sleep deprivation, eye strain, loss of memory, and inability to focus. This can also influence mental health, potentially worsening depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Many of the psychological issues have been linked to the new pressures in self-presentation. Since every picture, caption, and post can be edited and changed, the new standard is perfection. Add in that the majority of users are now presenting themselves this way, those who compare themselves with what others post see themselves as a failure, experiencing "social media envy," which can lower self-esteem.

So, if we know that social media negatively impacts our physical, mental, and social health, why do we keep using it? It's easy and we like the way it makes us feel in the short term. We like to post because we know that it will result in likes, which make us happy for a couple of seconds.

Being that we know the health risks connected to social media, it is time we start looking for some solutions. As more of daily life is connected to the internet, it is impossible to ask that everyone quits completely. Social media has become so much a part of our culture it is nearly impossible to function without it.

But this isn't about stopping social media entirely, it is about learning when to stop and understand limits, which is different for everyone. If you know that you are more sensitive to what other people post, it might help to set time limits for amount of time per day you can spend on social media. All things, even the altered reality of social media, must have moderation.

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