If you have been watching the news lately it’s safe to say that you have heard about the latest Facebook controversy. Whether or not you are concerned with privacy or how your data is being used there is another issue which can affect us deeply without us even noticing.
Part of the documents presented showed that on Instagram, a social media network owned and managed by Facebook, showed that Instagram has been linked with increased suicidal thoughts and eating disorders in young girls. Much of this is due to something called comparison syndrome, where we look at others and compare what we have, what we look like, where we live, and more! Comparing our whole lives to the sliver of life we are seeing from others can cause us to feel like we are not doing enough, or that we haven’t gotten far enough in life which is probably not true! So how do we start to change this and keep our mental health and our families mental health a top priority? Here are a couple ideas.
What can you do to keep yourself and your family safe?
- Monitor what you are being shown on social media closely. Pay attention to how certain posts make you feel. Do you feel guilty, angry, sad, or unworthy when viewing content on your home feed? Are you frequently shown advertisements for detox tea or some other short cut to a better body? These types of posts can send the message that we aren’t good enough the way that we are.
- Remember that others are posting their ‘Highlight Reel’ and that many times the images are staged, edited, and taken with filters applied.
- Talk with your family, especially children, about what they see on social media and how it makes them feel.
- Unfollow or block accounts that are not beneficial for you
- Do not engage by liking, following, or commenting on content that promotes unhealthy behaviors or is harmful to your physical and mental well-being.
In summary, we are responsible for the likes we give, the posts we interact with, and the accounts that we follow. If we continue to engage with accounts and individuals that make us feel unworthy, full of shame, guilty, or contribute to other negative thoughts and feelings we are essentially encouraging more of this content. So next time you find an account on your feed that makes you feel less than consider unfollowing. Consider curating your content by choosing accounts that are positive, encouraging, and helpful to you.