Research has shown that practicing active social media use can help improve your mental health more than traditional passive social media use. Passive social media allows the social media platform’s algorithm to dictate the content you see instead of actively choosing the content you see.
Here are some ways to practice active social media use and improve your online experience.
- Unfollow pages that post content that makes you feel negative. These are usually pages that post content to shock or anger you. Most news and political content fall into the category and some individuals.
- It could also be a good idea to unfollow pages of friends and family members who are constantly boasting about their lifestyle. It can sometimes be challenging not to compare yourself to another person, resulting in you feeling negative about your own life. If you don’t want to unfollow a friend or family member but would like to see less of their content, most social media platforms have options that allow you to take a break or see less of an account’s posts.
- Replace the sources of harmful content with content that inspires you and helps you, such as mental health pages or pages about your hobbies, e.g., art, photography, dance, travel, etc. Like, comment, save and share content from the accounts you enjoy; this will help the algorithm know that you’d like to see more content from these niches.
- If you want to reduce your time spent on social media, you can control the amount and types of notifications you receive from social media platforms. Most smartphones allow you to set time limits on specific applications. You can also mute notifications from social media apps to help reduce the urge to check these platforms.
- If you notice that you are becoming addicted to social media, it could be a good idea to uninstall these apps or delete your account. You can also install programs on your smartphone, tablet, and computer to block access to specific sites.
It can be easy to underestimate the impact the content we consume has on our mental health. Remember that you have control over the content you see on social media, and you should exercise that control to improve your experience and overall wellness.
If you or another GCU student is struggling, please call the Office of Student Care at 602-639-7007 or email [email protected]. You can also visit the Office of Student Care in person in the Student Life Building (Building 26), 2nd Floor, Monday-Friday from 8 am-5 pm.
If you believe that you or another GCU student faces an immediate, life-threatening emergency, call 911 or Campus Safety at 602-639-8100 (available 24/7).