Safer Internet Day was on the 11th of this month. The theme for this year is ‘Together for a Better Internet’. This day is designed to share safety tips in regards to using the internet, not just for parents and guardians with young children, but for people of all ages. The internet can be a dangerous place, filled with negativity, bullies, cruelty and violence. It is important that people know how to keep themselves safe when online as well as keeping their device safe from viruses and hackers.
I am choosing to write about how our mental health can be impacted by the internet, rather than focusing on safety tips, however, I will be sure to share some links at the end of this post for those who would like to know more about keeping safe online.
The internet can either benefit our mental health or cause it to deteriorate. Some people who struggle with their mental health find sanctuary through social media. Talking to people who are going through similar situations, or simply use the platforms as a way to vent and get their thoughts and feelings out of their head. For others, however, social media can be a way of self-torture, cyber-bullying and much darker things.
A lot of people find themselves comparing their lives to those they see on the internet. Not just by how they look, but by how they live, how they always look so happy and picturesque, how they seem to have the perfect family, perfect home and everything else that we all could dream to have. But it is important to remember that people only post the things that they want other people to see. Just because their Instagram feed makes it look as though they live the perfect, dream-worthy lifestyle, does not mean that they are never sad, it does not mean that they are not going through something rough, it does not mean that they are truly happy.
It is important that we all take some time away from social media, even if we feel as though it has a positive impact on our lives. Staring at a screen all day, searching for memes, editing pictures for The Gram and stalking celebrities is not good for us. We need to take time to do things that are more productive, reading a book, getting some fresh air, spending quality time with friends and family without phone notifications getting in the way. When we spend time with others, it is very rare that we give them our undivided attention. This is because when we are conversing with one another, we often have our phones in our hands, scrolling social media or texting people who are not with us in person, nodding as one of our loved ones is talking to us, but not really taking in what they are saying.
Look after yourself, limit your screen time, take a moment to focus on other things as well as your loved ones.