How being online may be affecting your wellbeing.
We are so often focused on how the internet and social media is affecting the health and wellbeing of our children and students, we often forget about our own. As adults, we would like to think that we are mature and wise enough not to be fazed about things we see and hear online but in today's world, is that plausible? We live in a world saturated with news. What breaking news would have been 10 years ago is not the same now. Before breaking news would have been breaking for a couple of weeks in contrast to now where there is a new news story every minute and in some cases only lasting or relevant for a few hours. It's becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between what is the truth and what is fake news. Let's take a moment to stop and review how our adult digital wellbeing might be affected in 2022.
Addicted to social media
It's probably no surprise to hear that social media is now deemed just as addictive as cigarettes. It's amazing that we have this opportunity to stay connected to our friends and family that we might not always get to see, whether they are living abroad or we just don't have time to meet in person, especially in these pandemic times. It's said that the effect of scrolling on social media gives us the same release of dopamine as drugs, satisfying our addiction.
Have you ever noticed that after you've scrolled through your phone, you either feel happier or adjudicated? It's amazing how a device so small can have such a strong effect on our mood. We might see something great that lifts our spirits, we could see something sad that plays on our minds for the day. It's funny how much access we have to other people's lives and how much access they could potentially have to ours depending on what we post online. No matter how hard we try we will always fall victim to comparison.
Internet use and anxiety
For a lot of us, we think that seeking information will help with anxiety. If we are feeling ill and are not sure what is wrong, we Google the symptoms, even though 90% of the time diagnoses are wrong. If something bad happens in our community, we constantly scroll to find out more information and stay on top of the news. Sometimes getting more information is helpful for relieving anxiety but it can be easy to become overwhelmed.
What can you do?
Take note of how many times a day you reach for your phone. When bored, in an awkward position or idle for more than a few seconds, are you reaching for your phone and scrolling through social media? Sometimes the best way to change a habit is to bring attention to it simply.
What can you do?
If you are noticing that scrolling through social media is causing you to feel sad or unmotivated, you should consider reducing the time spent on the apps. If you feel this would be difficult, install a blocker app and restrict the amount of time you can access social media.
What can you do?
Check-in with yourself throughout the day. When do you feel more anxious? Is there a reason why you feel this way?
Ways to better mental health online
1. Stay present and connected to the real world - it’s important to try and switch off and take a break from social media every now and then and spend time with friends and family in real life too, where it’s safe to do so. Try and set yourself realistic and personal goals.
2. Choose kindness - If you find yourself responding to a message or post with something negative, pause and consider whether you could frame it in another way or have an in‑person conversation instead. If you see or receive messages or content you consider to be bullying or abusive, you should block and report it.
3. Real relationships - do not rely on technology or social media alone to build relationships. It's easy to get into the habit of only texting, messaging or emailing people.
Setting the example
It is important that young people see adults using technology in a healthy way, so model this in your own behaviour. Using a Family Media Plan (for more on a family media plan click here to read our blog on this) or establishing a clear routine for younger children can also help set clear boundaries about meaningful use of technology.
Safer Internet Day
Safer Internet Day (SID) is an EU wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people. Safer Internet Day 2022 takes place on Tuesday, February 8th. While this project is aimed at younger people it's no harm for us adults to stop and take the opportunity to reflect on our own internet safety and digital wellbeing habits. Follow our social media for the next few weeks for more on Safer Internet Day 2022.
Zeeko Internet Safety Seminars
We understand that there may not always be an opportunity to factor Internet Safety into the busy school day. Zeeko Education provides Internet Safety training both virtually and on-site to suit every school’s needs. Read more on our seminars here or forward this link to your child's teacher.