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Saturated by Social Media

22nd Jan 2021

Social Media. Love it or hate it, it’s in our lives for the foreseeable future. The increase in social media and online use that happened in 2020 was unprecedented. The world moved inside and with that came a dramatic shift in how we communicate with one another.

Of course, there are so many positives to be found in social media. There are many benefits that it brings to our lives. However, there are, of course, downsides too. In a world where so much of our contact is online, when does the bad begin to outweigh the good? When do we feel over exposed and ‘saturated’ by the online world?

Take WhatsApp as a case in point. Group chats are becoming the norm and people are now able to see whether you have read their messages and whether you are currently online. It therefore becomes difficult to switch off and put your phone down. Creating a pressure and an anxiety upon the user that didn’t exist before.

Those who have seen the ‘The Social Dilemma’ will be familiar with the image of the men in the control room making sure you stay online. WhatsApp illustrates this perfectly. How can we switch off from digital devices without worrying we look rude to those communicating with us? How do we balance our need for time out from digital devices with the increased need to use them for interaction and contact?

Some Helpful Tips:

  1. Monitor how you are feeling. If you are starting to feel pressured to reply rather than replying because you want to, then it’s time to put your phone down.
  2. Use the status update on WhatsApp to define boundaries for your online time. Tell people what time you switch off for the night using that status bar.
  3. Turn off notifications. That way you are in control of when you check WhatsApp rather than it dictating when you access it. It means you won’t see you have received a message unless you physically enter the app yourself.
  4. Turn off the ‘last seen online’ on both Facebook Messenger and Instagram. This again stops people being able to ascertain when you are online and gives you back control over your accessibility.
  5. Use your ‘Do Not Disturb’ setting to set boundaries for yourself as to when your phone is able to notify you as to communications and alerts.
  6. You can leave the group chat. You can. You are allowed to leave. Simply explain to people that mentally you are finding it a bit intense and that you prefer one to one conversations.
  7. Utilise the ‘Your time on Facebook’ function to help you switch off and manage your online interactions.
  8. Try our Digital Detox Journal. If you are finding it all too overwhelming try limiting yourself on either one particular app or keeping one hour device free per day. The balance is for you to find but keeping a digital detox journal can help you to identify where that balance lies.

Above all, what remains key in our use of our digital devices and time spent on social media is that we remain in control. If we give control to the digital devices and the ‘men in the control room’ that’s when that feeling of over exposure, of saturation, starts to creep in. Take from social media only what you need to improve your life and add positivity to it. Leave the rest where it belongs …. online.

 

Lucy Howard, BulliesOut Digital Media Officer

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