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Social Media: Pros & Cons, Taking Breaks, & Finding Balance

Last updated May 2, 2024

Social media has completely changed the way that many people live their lives, as it's evolved from a means of communication into a source of entertainment, advertising, and social awareness. While social media can be a positive tool used for good, it can also lead us to feel insecure, anxious, and disconnected. In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of social media, as well as how to know it's time to take a step back for your mental well-being. 

A woman rests her head on her couch and scrolls on her phone - Social Media: Pros & Cons, Taking Breaks, & Finding Balance

Pros of Social Media 

Social media serves as a powerful tool for connection, information sharing, and community building. When used with care and intention, social media can teach people new things, connect them with new ideas and worldviews, and help them stay in touch with loved ones. 

Cons of Social Media

Social media can be distracting, anxiety-inducing, and lead people to feel disconnected from their surroundings. Excessive social media use can also take a toll on a person's self-esteem, since these platforms are designed to display only the best parts of a person's life. Social media can also be a tool that fuels cyberbulling, which can have severe consequences on a person's mental health and well-being. While this can sound scary, identifying and understanding the potential harms of social media use can help you build a healthier and more stable relationship with it. 

Signs You Need a Social Media Break

You compare yourself to other people

If you feel you are constantly comparing yourself to others based on the image that they present of themselves online, it may be time to take a step back from social media for a while. There will never be anyone like you– don’t spend valuable time comparing yourself to others!

You have a hard time forming your own opinions

It can be easy to form opinions about current events trending on social media, even if we don’t have all the facts. Taking some time away from your screen will give you more space to think for yourself and form your own opinions, instead of being bombarded with other people's opinions online. (Having trouble making sense of what you see online? Check out our 5 tips to spot fake news!)

Prioritizing other things feels difficult

Social media is literally designed to capture as much of our attention as possible. This can make doing more important things feel difficult. Try stepping away every so often for an hour at a time to focus on other activities that make you happy.

You feel disconnected from your loved ones

Social media is a world of its own, but it’s not the one you live in. It can create a divide between you and your loved ones, and may leave you feeling out of touch with what's happening around you. Try checking in with your loved ones more often outside of social media to connect in a more personal way.

You find yourself “doomscrolling”

Doomscrolling is the act of endlessly scrolling through negative or distressing content online, often related to current events. Constant exposure to negative news can lead to anxiety, stress, and a sense of hopelessness. Limit your time spent doomscrolling by closing social media apps when you come across content or news that overwhelms you.

Finding Balance 

Here are some tips to find balance in your social media use:

  • Set boundaries. Establish clear time limits for social media use and stick to them. This can help you use these platforms in a way that enhances your life, rather than dominates it. 

  • Curate your feeds. You have a say in what you see online! Take some time to curate your social media feeds by unfollowing any accounts that share content that distresses you or makes you feel insecure. 
  • Prioritize real-life connections: Consider looking for ways to engage with your friends and loved ones without screens present. For example, if you FaceTime your friend every night, try swapping out one of those evenings a week with in-person time spent doing your favorite activity together. 
  • Take breaks. Stepping away from social media doesn't mean saying goodbye forever! An intentional pause every now and then can boost your mental health, self-confidence, and focus.  
  • Seek professional help: If concerns about mental health arise, don't hesitate to seek professional support

Have any tips for taking a social media break that you think we should share? Leave us a comment on Instagram @getschooled or text #Hello to 33-55-77 to let us know! If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you.

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