Recent studies have revealed considerable evidence confirming social media’s adverse effects on people’s mental health. To help you enjoy the perks of virtual connectivity on apps like Instagram and TikTok, we’ve prepared a list of actions you can take to protect your privacy and use social media to its full potential.
1. Adjust your privacy settings
Data breaches can significantly affect a user’s mental health. From people who suffered a cyberattack, 59% reported signs of depression and sadness . An increasing number of people used advanced techniques to keep their data safe. However, cybersecurity experts still warn about ways personal information are exposed in the internet- unintentionally. It is encouraged to adjust your privacy and security settings on your social media profiles to cut amount of data you are sharing. You can also try using nicknames and images that don’t reveal your identities. Do this on sites that are known to be less conscious of their user’s privacy.
2. Block and report online harassment
Never hesitate to block and report online harassment if it means staying safe on social media. Bullies use social media to exploit vulnerable people and draw attention to themselves. Don’t give them power over you. Immediately report their behavior. However, it’s an understandably more difficult decision if the bully is someone you know personally. In situations like this, open up to someone you trust and ask for advice. If you’re uncomfortable doing it, reach out to a neutral third person. It can be an expert who can guide you through the process.
3. Post mindfully
As the saying goes, be the change you want to see in the world. If you want to change social media, start with yourself. Take a step back and see how your activity affects others. Post mindfully and with a purpose. Create posts encouraging positive dialogue among your friends and followers, and ensure your posts reflect the positive values you strive to nurture.
4. Change the way you use social media
Reducing the time spent online is an effective way of mitigating the potential risks. However, changing your social media habits can significantly impact your overall well-being. First, scroll through your social media and unfollow or delete all accounts that bring up negative emotions. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to work on yourself and make you feel confident and safe. Second, use social media to connect with others. We often scroll through social media content without engaging with others passively. Try to post more, chat with others, and connect with people you find interesting.
With the internet becoming an indispensable part of our lives, new communication channels as we know them today aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Instead of cutting social media networks off your life, try to find more suitable ways to include them in your daily routine. Be mindful of how they’re affecting your mental health and enjoy the benefits they can offer.