Part 3: Protect Your Mental Health Online

To be truly honest, this is for the Boomers out there. I’ve noticed that a lot of the people that have been truly affect by social media and marketing.. are the Boomers. I say this with love, but it’s time to practice some self-control online and take some online responsibility. Seriously, I love you guys, but I don’t often see millennials that share, post, comment, like, so emotionally, aggressively, and haphazardly. It’s not good for your mental health or the community at large, so if we all start taking a bit more responsibility of our online presence, we will all be better off and much happier.

Practice Self Control

Practice self-control. Not everything needs to be shared, retweeted or “liked”. Honestly, think about what you value and what makes you happy, and give yourself some rules about what you engage with on these platforms. Something that has really helped me is the rule of thumb: no sharing politics, no sharing religion with new friends/strangers. We never used to use these platforms for that purpose; they were used for sharing fun photos of parties or videos of your children. You can take your passion for politics and religion to somewhere in the real world or safe, positive online groups. Remember, everything you post and say lasts forever and will be there in future years. Your emotional response is mostly what trolls want, so take action against it by blocking the people you don’t want to follow and just disengage. If you feel like this will effect your free speech - don’t! You can have freedom of speech in real life, which will matter the most. You will not change anyone’s mind online at this point and it adds fuel to the fire of negative online rhetoric, building stereotypes, and allows for psychological control from other people and organizations. Make sure that you are using the platforms to share your fun pictures of your grandchildren, or your 50th birthday party. Keep it positive! The whole fun of social media before was to see photos and connect with your loved ones from far away. If you put up boundaries and practice self control, the platform will become a much happier place for you.

Curate Your Media

A great way to feel better using social media is curating your own content to make you happy. This can also help with self control too. When something that makes you feel angry or anxiety ridden shows up on your news feed, your first instinct is to react (retweet, comment, share, angry face). All you are doing is adding fuel to a fire, and giving them your data. A great way to feel good about things is to block/hide people, go through your friends and de-friend people (do you really need to see your HS friends content? NO!) unfollow people, set a limit for how many people you follow. Another great way to do this is to download an Ad Blocker for your computer. This will block any advertising directed at you on most social media accounts and online (though Facebook has found away around this, of course) It’s a great way to limit content without thinking about it. Download it here -> 

I’ve seen people, especially Boomers, who like, share, engage, constantly and don’t even realize they are on information overload. Stop, take a second, breathe, and refresh your online pretense and community. 

Take Social Media Breaks

Take time off from your social media, it’s so refreshing. You may find that you care even less about being on them in the first place. Sometimes it’s hard to sign off but a great way to do it is to use this Self Control App. You can download it here (->). You ‘blacklist’ the sites that distract you and for 24 hours you cannot use them. You’ll have to reset it everyday, but it’s a great way to practice self control and take a social media detox. If you are detoxing, another way to get news and information is to sign up for e-mail newsletters! This can help you get it in your inbox, without the hassle of dealing with crazy trolls/comments that will depress you. A great resource is The Skimm, or signing up for Medium posts about subjects you’re interested in. Delete all of the apps and notifications from your phone too - maybe set the rule that you will only use social media one a computer. Boundaries people. You aren’t the only ones feeling overwhelmed either, a great new start-up called the Light Phone (Which yes, I’ve backed on Indiegogo) is premiering this Fall. It’s the start of a new revolution, where we really reign in and take back control from the technology in our pockets.

The bottom line, the future of social media is curated, private, positive, and specific to you. We can take back control from technology, we can protect ourselves from it. Now that we are all becoming more aware of the power social media has to affect to our mental health and emotions, which in turn effects our real world in ways we didn’t think possible. Start being responsible not only for yourself, but for your loved ones and the world you’ve created around you. They will win when we are divided. Let’s not let them win. Start with yourself, and it will create the change you want to see in others too.