If you weren’t a teenager around the years 2000-2005, I’m guessing you won’t remember MSN messenger. OMG it was filled with crazy emoticons, the most sparkly pumping hearts you had ever seen in your life, and there wasn’t a word that didn’t have a weird effect/font on it. Also how could I forget that nudge, it was basically a really annoying way to get the other persons attention by shaking their computer screens and making a weird ringing noise – I used to block anyone that did it to me, but then I would do it to my best mates knowing they’re busy...MWAHAHA. I must say your generation is lucky to not have to go through all the cringe, crappy apps. You’ve literally just jumped into Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and all sorts. I think Social Media has so many positive uses for everyone around the world, but as we’ve become dependent on it there are studies showing that there are many negatives too.
Basically, there is a study stating that “the more we use Social Media both overall and at night, we experience poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem and higher levels of anxiety and depression” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27294324). OK, I don’t know about you guys but I like my sleep! Another one shows a link between Social Media and depression (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26783723). Oh and another study states that addictive and uncontrolled use of Social Media sites not only messes up with our school work but also poses threats to physical and psychological wellbeing! Urm, this can’t happen, I love my apps but I want to feel and look good...like all the time!
We can’t run away from the fact that the internet is so vast and full of different exciting stuff, that’s why we are actually glued to it. I don’t think I’m addicted and you probably don’t either but think about it, when we check the time what do we look at? Our phones. When we need to find something out, who do we turn to? Uncle Google. When we feel sh*t, what lightens our mood a bit? Watching videos of people falling over – c’mon seeing their pain is kinda funny, no? Although Social Media brings us together, it also gathers teenagers online to go against each other and make nasty comments – also known as Cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is basically a form of bullying but online. Bullying makes people feel scared, anxious, depressed and fed up. Cyberbullying also creates the same feelings. It’s actually a common thing going about, which is quite sad. A YouGov study showed that cyberbullying is increasing which affects almost half of teenagers. Teens who have been victims of it often said they felt helpless and depressed. That’s not right man.
So, let’s help each other out on how to maintain physical and mental health on Social Media:
We know Social Media is addictive, fun and the easiest way to communicate with people, but if you feel you are a victim or know someone who is a victim of cyberbullying IGNORE IT. Trust me, I know it’s hard but it’s just going to get them worked up and it will just last for ages. Initially I would want to message them and cuss them till I drop, whether it was for me or on a friend’s behalf. But I know that will just cause distress in the long term. BLOCK them and REPORT them – that’s the best way to go. For further advice, visit here: org/cyberbullying.
Give yourself a time limit,this may sound odd and you probably won’t set an exact 30min or 60min chunk to have a look at your phone or whatever. But we know Social Media eats time and before you know it you’ve been in bed all day looking at that kid having a dabbing fit. I would suggest to do what you need to do and avoid looking at Social Media, and once it’s done and you feel productive, whether it’s working out, doing your homework, walking the dog, then have a cheeky look after.
This brings me to limiting or completely stopping night time use. I am the main culprit of this and I’ve been having rubbish sleeps lately. The research is clear that looking at social media during the night is affecting teenager’s sleep, therefore having a significant impact on your health. I have realised that it affects my energy, I want to eat more and my concentration and focus is so low that I literally day dream all day. My notification will still be there in the morning so I know I can look at it later, no need to look at it at 3am! Another interesting fact – the blue light released from the screens of many smart phone devices affects many people’s ability to wine down and relax. Makes sense now. So, have a look at your phone then give yourself a 30min – an hour break before you sleep. Sleep time is recovery time. Not, close your eyes then spring up to see whether he/she messaged back, time.
I am obviously not saying to stop using Social Media, because I’d be the biggest hypocrite alive. I’m simply making all of us aware that it can have a negative impact on our health and simple steps can ensure that it won’t have to be a big issue. Let’s do it together and start off by not looking at our phones at least an hour before we sleep.
And if you end up having the best night sleeps ever...You are welcome!