Look around you. At any given time, someone within 30 feet of you is likely viewing some type of social media. You connect with it, you learn from it, and watch your idols through it. Social media has so many powerful forces for good, and some questionable influences, too. But what happens when you become addicted to social media? What happens when you are subject to abuse or bullying? What happens when social media attacks?
Connecting on social media is so common now, you might even do it in your sleep. You view people’s stories, you watch videos, and message friends. You are choosing your own influences from endless choices, including music, shows, celebrities, athletes, and influencers. There are trends and even political and other movements that you can have real life experiences with.
As you scroll through your feed throughout the day, you are exposed to so many things. You can show your appreciation for images, videos, and other content with a click of a button. You can pass along content with the click of a button. What you like, who you follow, and what you share defines your presence on social media.
Does the content you view reflect the real you? Are your values and beliefs presented in what you click on? Will your choices and comments come back to haunt you later, when you have a job interview, are choosing a college, or maybe want to host the Oscars? You have the opportunity to shape your own influences, to show appreciation for content that reflects you, and to use your presence on social media for change… if you want to.
One of the most commonly asked questions about social media is, “Am I addicted? That is a question you should really ask yourself. Can you go an hour without checking social media? A whole day? Can you go a week without social media? What about a month long fast from social media? I mean, that’s a little crazy, to be honest. But a month without social media would definitely clear your mind, decrease your anxiety, and you would have so much more time to spend on other things.
Social media addiction is a real thing, it’s not just something your parents complain about to get you to do your chores. Just like a substance, our brains become dependent on the constant feed of information, the clicks, the likes, and the always present question: “Did I miss something?” If you find yourself thinking about social media all the time, checking it too often, or you are unable to tear yourself away from it for any length of time, you might need some help. You can seek help through an outpatient program, where they can help you with mental health or addiction issues. Social media can attack you in more than one way, and addiction is one of the ways you can be harmed.
For all of the great content on social media, sometimes there is some questionable or flat out poor content. Whether the content has inappropriate images, language or behaviors, contains messages of hate or intolerance, or is abusive to one or more people, you should not support this content. Even if this is a friend or family member, as painful as it might be, you should unfollow them. You can also report truly abusive or intolerant content.
Your social media presence has power. If you scroll past questionable content, then you are essentially saying it’s okay for people to post it. Even if you don’t like it or share it, your inaction enables others to keep posting things like that. You may not think that an unfollow has power, but it does. It also has the power to keep that type of content out of your feed, which directly blesses you, as well.
There is some terrible stuff that goes down on social media. Hopefully it never happens to you. It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch, and there are a few who hide behind their devices and spread hate, intolerance, and abuse. Social media provides the perfect platform for cyberbullying, and unfortunately, there isn’t really a way for social media platforms to police this on their own.
When social media attacks, you have power. If someone attacks or abuses you, you can block and report. If you receive threats of any kind, and especially if you think they are potentially credible or the person has a way of knowing where you live or go to school, then do not hesitate for a minute to go to the police. This is very serious, and it is always better to be safe than to become the actual victim of a threat. The same is true if you witness abuse or intolerance against someone else. Reporting it makes social media safer for everyone, and it only takes a minute to do.
Social media is such a significant part of your world, and that is actually mostly good. You can connect, share, and learn — whenever and wherever you want. There is the chance you could become addicted, or be exposed to inappropriate or abusive content. But the good news is that you get to choose what you see. You have power over bullying and hate. You know what to do when social media attacks.
Learn more about social media by calling Embark Behavioral Health 1-855-809-0409 today. When social media attacks, you can protect yourself and others.