Hi. My name’s Alex Newton and I am a phone addict. You probably think that’s a strong statement – which, don’t get me wrong, it is. But if you know me, then you know that I am always on my phone – whether it be texting, calling, or being on social media. Is that a good or a bad thing? Well if you were asking my bank account, it’d definitely say bad. My mental health would probably agree. So, does spending too much time on social media affect our mental health? Let’s examine the truth behind our evidence.
A recent study conducted by a psychiatrist in Michigan found that our Facebook use can be making us miserable. Now. I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a Facebook user – although back in High School I was a big Myspace fan (soz, had to give it a shoutout). However, I found that over the years I would add all of these people that i knew but I never really talked to. Then my feed got filled with stuff that I probably didn’t care much about. So I’d go through my friends list and would unfriend all of the people I never spoke to. Here’s how I look at it. If I’m not going to wish them a happy birthday, chances are I won’t miss them. Harsh? Probably, but I’ll feel much better when I have my morning scroll.
If you’re a 90s kid like I am, then if you hear the word troll, you think of the doll with the hair that sticks up straight and is colourful. Well, when it comes to the interweb, troll is far from that. Trolls – also known as ‘online bullies’ who like to instigate and cause trouble (you know who you are). I’ve been somewhat lucky (I say that in the most light way) because I’ve never really had to deal with trolls. However, I did have to deal with IRL (in real life) trolls.
If you’ve ever watched a celebrity interview and they’re asked about getting hateful messages sent to them, they typically say “when you’ve got 12249345983475 nice comments and 1-2 mean ones, you focus on the mean ones and not so much the nice ones.” Well. I’m here to call you out on that. First off, in every single thing you do life you’ve got a choice. This is the same – you can let it get to you or you can be the bigger person and, as I like to say, ‘kill ’em with kindness.” Why? Because why bother wasting your time on a comment that one, this person literally knows nothing about you, and two you’re giving them the power and control by allowing the comment to affect you. Now, you’re probably thinking I sound absolutely insane, but I’m not. Trust me. I’ve seen people get hate before and I’ve given the power and control to bullies before. I know what it’s like. My Mum always told me ‘negativity begets negativity. Positivity begets positivity.” So, if you ever find yourself stuck in a situation with a troll, remember that their negativity will make you feel negative – if you give it the power to do so.
So, in summary, with all of these different social media platforms at our disposal, it’s hard not to get caught up into all of it. But, like everything else, social media use should be done in moderation. Because too much of a good (or bad) thing is never good.
Alex Newton is a nursing student and mental health advocate. She grew up in a small town and plans on moving to London, England one day and open up her own health practice. She has a cat named Maya who she adopted whilst going through some difficulties. She’s a daughter, sister, and warrior who enjoys a nice cuppa tea.