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A New Guide To Build Healthy Habits for Using Social Media

Are you struggling to manage your social media use? Discover and learn these effective habits to practice improving your relationship with social media. 


Image by Freepik
Image by Freepik

Table of Contents



What Social Media Made For

Online Platforms like social media have been evolving in the past years, and it's one of the sources where people can share ideas, whether it is about celebrity news or politics, life updates, or even opinions.


By having a presence on social media, you get to stay connected with your loved ones, like friends and families, through online messages and calls anywhere across the globe, you can find communities that share the same interests, and these days, you are allowed to also sell products as well.


Factors on Why Social Media's Growth Never Stops


Graph & Data by Statista 2024 Daily Social Media Usage Worldwide
Graph & Data by Statista 2024 Daily Social Media Usage Worldwide

According to Statista “As of 2022, the average daily social usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 151 minutes per day”.The rapid growth of social media is mainly because of the widened broadband access, updated software tools, new gadgets, and the nonstop launching of mobile applications. The number of users is continuously growing and spending more time on the internet along with them are the companies that are taking advantage and maximizing their time online.


How To Be A Responsible Social Media User?


Image by Brian Ramirez
Image by Brian Ramirez

What many people overlook, though, is that its initial impact was less significant. Nowadays, smartphones have completely changed how people perceive the world by giving them constant access to a buzzing maze of noise and distractions. Let’s look at how to be a responsible social media user :


  • Be aware of your privacy

There's nothing wrong with creating and engaging in social media, but setting boundaries means prioritising your mental health. By maintaining control of your privacy you will reduce the risk of letting someone steal your identity or your savings. When you protect yourself in social media you're always protecting the people connected to you.


  • Think before you post


Sharing too much on the internet is so simple, and that can result in a variety of issues such as cyberbullying and public humiliation.

Therefore, UNICEF shared a few questions you need to ask yourself to help avoid cyberbullying before sharing anything online:


? Is it accurate

? Is it thoughtful

? Would I say it personally

? Is it practical or helpful

? Will it make me feel good the next day


You have to think twice before pressing the POST button if the response to any of these is negative. One excellent way to practice a good habit in social media safety is to pose these questions. When you tend to ignore posts about which you are unsure, you never know, maybe you might feel differently in the morning. Once something goes viral online, it is usually there for good.


  • Recognize your emotions


Individuals choose their social media posts to present specific stories about their lives. That story is usually the bright one. For instance, during a weekend road trip, your friends may show you tons of different photos and videos about all the amazing things and views they saw and experienced. However, it is unlikely that you'll see images of the three occasions she experienced car sickness while driving. It is never about what they have and what you don't have, recall that the posts you see online are never the whole picture, even if they are accurate (Castrillon, 2020).


  • Follow relevant accounts that share your interests


Sometimes the news is indeed depressing. Concentrate on the things that bring you joy and try to find balance in both social media and the real world. Look for some social media accounts that highlight some topics that spark interest in you or make you laugh. Filtering what you see online, can help you find people that feel relevant for your mental health.


  • Always fact-checking


The significant social concern about the spread of misinformation is social media, including political “fake news”, misleading hyper-partisan news and other types of inaccurate content has been a subject in recent years.


Given the cognitive biases that lead us to be vulnerable to false information, we must develop a habit of fact-checking social media posts. It is wise to verify the accuracy of opinions expressed by others based on materials they assert to be true or precise. Even when facts are provided by people you know and like in good faith, you should still doubt the accuracy. It’s also critical to invest enough time comparing various information sources and gaining enough knowledge to help you stop the spread of “fake news” in the future. Given the variety of tools, reports, websites, and systems at our disposal to help us verify information.



Healthy Habits To Practice For Social Media


Image by Virginia Helzainka
Image by Virginia Helzainka

Maybe you find yourself having a hard time focusing on a task or maybe having difficulty sleeping due to your constant use of devices and you find out that it is invading your time, making it difficult to maintain a work-balanced life. That's because social media is made to be addictive, and as you plan to take this information, your attention spans are getting shorter, which causes you to become less focused and productive. Here are some practical tips to start your digital detox to regain control of your life :


1. Use social media applications with intention

If you're using social media for personal use and end up taking time scrolling through videos in TikTok and changing apps from Facebook to Instagram for hours, it can make your brain drained by over-stimulation and will lead to mental health problems. However, if your work is in line with using social media, you will still need to log off the moment you finish using it. When you choose to use your social activity wisely you can be a good example and make a good impact on other people.


2. Phone-free when eating meals


Choosing to eat without using your phone can help reconnect with your loved ones and learn about their days. Especially if social media has been taking up your valuable time that you could be spending with them. Put your phone in a different room and designate it as a no-phone zone during your daily meals to prevent the beeps from disturbing you.


3. Reshuffle your app icon


With the ease with which we can access the virtual world, our fingers may eventually grow accustomed to automatically clicking on apps and checking social media. Rearranging your app icons regularly can help break the habit of having them always accessible.

4. Start a new hobby without screens


Watching movies and listening to music is fun but remember, sweating also produces endorphins! Try switching to other more wholesome activities like sports or games where you can physically interact, or try picking up a new language or a new skill. Make time in your schedule for more enriching and meaningful offline activities. A little daydreaming will also prevent boredom. Establish a consistent schedule that restricts the amount of time spent on social media, especially in the morning and right after going to bed.


To ensure that you won't miss out on life, try to unplug social media and get in touch with the people you love.


5. Create To-Do List Reward System


In the struggle to reclaim control over your screen time, positive reinforcement can also be a very useful tool. Create your reward system. Give yourself an extra fifteen minutes to complete your daily tasks in advance, but don't check into social media until everything on your to-do list has been completed. You need to practice your discipline on this one.


6. Turn off your notifications


After turning off all your notifications on your computer and phone (aside from those you need), rejoice in your newly acquired tranquillity without buzzes. Consider this: were you really in need of being alerted each time someone “liked”, or posted something on social media? the probability is not. Rather, set aside a small amount of time every day to catch up on your online activities. In this manner, instead of being guided by your social media story, you will be in charge of it. And never forget: We are completely misguided with our FOMO (Fear of missing out) “One very important part of figuring out how to overcome your FOMO is figuring out which decisions require you to spend time thinking about them, and which decisions don’t demand or deserve your attention ” (McGinnis P, 2022)


Advantages In Developing Mindful Habits For Social Media


Image by Vectorjuice
Image by Vectorjuice

Have you experienced sharing an opinion on social media and people are trying to tell you the bad stuff and one day you found out that you cannot still forget how it made you feel? Imagine the freedom of having no one to owe an explanation about arguments you found online, whether it's about politics or celebrity gossip. Learn the advantages of having a good habit for social :


  • More Free Time


By minimizing your social media usage you can focus more of your time on other things that are more important to you, like spending time with your loved ones, engaging in a hobby, or working on a personal project.


  • You can stop buying things you probably don't need


Influencers and marketers on social media are one of the great contributors to consumerism by endorsing goods and services you may not genuinely require or desire. By cutting off time on social media you can focus more on leading a straightforward and purposeful life and lessen the pressure you feel to stay up to date with trends.


  • You can give up on irrelevant activities


Social pressure can come from friends and acquaintances sharing posts and events on social media that you might not be interested in. You can release yourself from this pressure and you can put more attention into pursuing the things that make you happy and fulfilled by taking detox on social media.


  • You can pay more attention to your plans


Social media has the potential to be a huge distraction, drawing your focus away from your priorities and objectives. You can put an end to this distraction and focus more on accomplishing your career and personal goals by setting limits on your time on social media.


  • You will discover real friends


With so many people having huge networks of online friends and followers, but few genuine, deep connections, social media can give a false sense of connectedness. By giving up social media for some time it will help you identify your true friends, and concentrate more on developing deep connections with them.


  • Better sleep pattern


Constant checking social media as a habit will take a toll on your sleep pattern. When you establish good self-control in checking social media, you'll decrease the adverse effects of sleep deprivation (Haas, 2021).


Take a few days off from social media use if you find that it's making you feel nervous or depressed. Recharging yourself and refocusing on your priorities are two benefits of social media detox.


You are not alone if you're struggling with the signs of anxiety or depression; get support from a reliable source such as a mental healthcare professional.


What The Internet Says About Social Media Habits


Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/selfimprovement/comments/17ba5xa/comment/k5i4913/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/selfimprovement/comments/17ba5xa/comment/k5i4913/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

Since social media addiction is a common problem among internet users, some of the people from communities try to find solutions for this problem. Here is a Reddit user who shares his way of dealing with the overconsumption of social media content. By setting specific times in social media, you can maximize your productivity by shifting your focus to more important tasks. This requires you to be consistent with this and it will enhance your psychological state over time and create a good quality of life.


Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/nosurf/comments/17vxgri/comment/k9efz8y/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/nosurf/comments/17vxgri/comment/k9efz8y/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

Here is another Reddit user who suggests using a computer only to make surfing the internet relatively harder. Because while using a mobile phone, it is quite easy to shift between applications and tend to develop such habits. Not all mobile applications will create bad outcomes in our lives. By choosing what application will help you for good, you can do more than what you think. It could be a coursework app, your online banking app, or something that could help you monitor your health.

Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/minimalism/comments/uaosun/comment/i5z4m34/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/minimalism/comments/uaosun/comment/i5z4m34/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

This user created a roadmap in her social media journey. It is very useful to know your patterns in social media and why you need it because when you are aware of your social media patterns you can find the most beneficial tips for you to use in a much better way. Boundaries are very important not just for security purposes but also for mental health. The way we project ourselves online will create stories in the minds of other people. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by updating your security settings and knowing what to post.



Conclusion


Bad practices in social media always take a toll on our mental health and one thing we have to do in minimizing this is to always have self-control. By being aware of your privacy, you are also protecting yourself from the dark of social media.


Start healthy habits by reconnecting to what we have in the present. Posts can be deceiving and it creates changes in how we perceive the world. Practice good habits for social media by making small changes and being consistent will make a big difference in the long run. You can always start whenever you're ready. As Neil Armstrong stated “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”


Key Takeaways: 

  • Social media is made to be addictive.

  • Building good habits in social media is also prioritizing your mental health.

  • Social media is full of fake connections.

  • Social media detox improves focus. 



Written by Ethil Besana

Edited by Virginia Helzainka



References:


Nissenbaum, H. (2011). A contextual approach to privacy online. MIT Press. https://doi.org/10.1162/DAED_a_00113


Israelashvili, J., Oosterwijk, S., Sauter, D., & Fischer, A. H. (2019). Knowing me, knowing you: emotion differentiation in oneself is associated with recognition of others’ emotions. Cognition & Emotion, 33(7), 1461–1471. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2019.1577221


Yuxuan Wu (2023) Predicting Fact-Checking Health Information Before Sharing Among People with Different Levels of Altruism: Based on the Influence of Presumed Media Influence, Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 16:, 1495-1508, DOI: 10.2147/PRBM.S404911


Hou, Y., Xiong, D., Jiang, T., Song, L., & Wang, Q. (2019). Social media addiction: Its impact, mediation, and intervention. Cyberpsychology, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.5817/cp2019-1-4


Purohit A K., Barclay L., Holzer A.(2020). Designing for Digital Detox: Making Social Media Less Addictive with Digital Nudges. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1145/3334480.3382810


Yong, J. Y. Y., Tong, E. M. W., & Liu, J. C. J. (2020). When the camera eats first: Exploring how meal-time cell phone photography affects eating behaviours. Appetite, 154, 104787. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2020.104787


Böhmer M., Krüger A, (2013). A study on icon arrangement by smartphone users. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '13). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 2137–2146. https://doi.org/10.1145/2470654.2481294


Jr. Milner, M. (2016) Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids. Second Edition Routledge Taylor& Francis Group. NY, New York


Price, C. (2018) How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life. Catherine Price LLC, USA


Korda, H., & Itani, Z. (2011). Harnessing social media for health promotion and behaviour change. Health Promotion Practice, 14(1), 15–23. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524839911405850

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