Recently it was reported in the Washington Post that research has demonstrated that spending time scrolling social media is harmful to your life outlook. For teens, it is evidently even worse than for adults: seeing their friends get lots more “likes,” while they get fewer, can be crushing to their sense of self-worth.
Indeed, scrolling social media can definitely be emotionally wearing:
The above is an example. It is from the Voice of America (VOA) Instagram feed. I get lots of news from that site.
We are now barraged with information in ways unlike ever before. Our parents and grandparents did not grow up overwhelmed by imagery personalized from all corners of the globe. Especially seeing a regular run of depressing images – a vehicle wrecked in Peru is rather outside of anyone’s ability to influence – can, unsurprisingly, be a mental drag.
Stories such as that pop up in my Instagram timeline without warning among others posted by social media acquaintances and “in person” friends sharing various photos. Other interests of mine, such as favorite sports teams, naturally also appear unexpectedly. Here is a taster of what I may see if I scroll my Instagram…
You get the chaotic picture. Uh, no pun intended. (And note: I do NOT know the Pope or Hugh Jackman personally.) Your own Insta or Facebook timelines probably look much the same.
If you are going to use social media, it is suggested also that you be genuinely “social” not just a “liker.” Leave useful comments and engage: it becomes less of a spectator experience and a more personal and perhaps even more satisfying activity. I know I enjoy reading genuine comments and always try to reply to them.
As I have written before – and especially if you happen to be a teen or young twenty-something – social media is NOT the center of everything and should NOT define your view of yourself. Much that you see is contrived, shot carefully and “unreal.” Do not compare yourself and your own life to much – even most – that you see on it.
Social media is for enjoyment and gleaning insights on this or that – from news to food to holidays to fashion to books and so on. But remember what you see overall is transitory as well as often illusory. The poster you follow and admire today may not even be there tomorrow; he or she could just delete everything and disappear.
That said, a book – not to sound self-serving😉 – in comparison is a permanent companion. It will not vanish, or judge you, or unfollow you. It will be there for you whenever you want it – and we learn a great deal from books, too.📚
Have a good weekend, wherever you are in the world.😊