Being careful with social media during COVID-19

Repeatedly from notices on radio stations to news channels and advertisements on public transport, the Coronavirus has been almost impossible to escape our attention. After a while, this can easily verge on becoming all consuming within our minds and rather than staying informed, we’ve become distracted. The lockdown in particular couldn’t have isolated some communities more and as a means of attempting to rekindle social interaction, we’ve relied on the phone. If there had ever been more of an opportunity for social media to blow up – it would be now. In line with this there is urgency to be wary and balance the enjoyment of scrolling through TikToks with then suddenly spending 2 hours on an app at only 9 o’clock in the morning.

I really like Instagram. I think it’s by far become the most entertaining app over the passage of time from messaging services like MSN to Myspace and Facebook. Social media undoubtedly connects us in what would have once been an unthinkable way! I can connect with family in Jordan, my friends in China and can discuss topics from art and philosophy to how best prepare for a medical interview, with strangers worldwide. We’ve become reliant on the technology but it definitely makes our lives more efficient and easy when utilised correctly. During the pandemic, the UK was getting a lot of its information on the severity and nature of Coronavirus from international reports. Countries such as China and Italy were among those communicating with us and the footage and interviews made available for the general public were the beginning of the education for many of us as to what this virus had in store. As laymen, we stayed informed through formal government guidance on our televisions as well as exploring all kinds of conspiracy theories (and I do mean all kinds…) on social media. For me, Instagram has and still is a combination of enabling me to see what my friends are doing or posting from the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of Kobe and Gigi Bryant to female empowerment and body positivity.

But of course… we’re abusing the time and nature of content we’re consuming – much of the time, unintentionally. When 10 minutes scrolling in the morning has us come across something which triggers an unpleasant or undesirable emotion in us, the effect doesn’t leave as we leave that application. It can take hours or even days before we stop thinking about a photo we saw, or a comment, or even the number of likes our post didn’t get. During the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of fads from hyperproductivity and somewhat forced positivity when really what these apps lack a lot of the time is transparency. The truth is, events like lockdowns impact our physical and mental health massively; a person’s release might be their gym time in the morning or studying in a local café. Consequences like increased conflict within the household, domestic abuse, porn addictions, weight gain and lack of motivation aren’t things that are more popularly advertised on social media. This means that ultimately, we’re fed quite a false and more fake perception as to what our friends and ‘idols’ are going through.

Some tips to take control over social media time · Switching my phone notifications off at a set time each evening · Putting my phone in a different room as I study/ spend time with family · Be mindful of the content you consume; what were the effects after seeing that thing? · Reminding myself how SHORT life is!

Social media should really be used in moderation. These apps are fun and also educational when knowing where to find legitimate sources. Remember to find balance and live outside your phone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.