Saturday 15 August 2020

How To Stay Safe Online

Ruby shares some ways to use social media effectively. 

- Ruby

In this day and age, we all seem to be on some form of social media. How do we ensure we keep ourselves and others safe while using these different platforms?  How do we maintain good mental health while online? 

Excessive amount of social media use can cause low self-esteem, as we can feel low looking at other peoples’ lifestyles through the images they post. This can lead to critically comparing ourselves with others. The impact of this could be catastrophic feelings of negativity such as: 'I will never be able to be like that person', or 'I could never do that'. It is vital to keep in mind that individuals’ profiles are not the whole picture and posts may be made to show a different lifestyle to the one they actually have. 

Body dysmorphia is another issue that young people find when browsing through social media. This is a term when someone cannot stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in their appearance. These ‘flaws’ appear minor or cannot be seen by others. This may result in feelings of embarrassment, and anxiety that could make someone avoid social situations. For this, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be effective. 

To help improve your mental health when browsing your profiles, have a read of my top tips below:
  • Make sure you check your privacy settings. Get someone you know to delete you as a friend and check out how your profile looks to someone who does not have you as a ‘friend’. This is a great way to see what others can see on your profile. Go onto your settings to then change the privacy on the aspects you do not want others to see.
  • If you receive messages you do not like, do not respond or retaliate to the messages, this could escalate things and make it worse, instead, block the user and tell someone close to you what has happened. Make a note of dates and times you receive bullying messages, as well as details you have of the user’s ID and the URL
  • Be conscious of what you read online. Is it from a valuable source, if not, the information being shared onto your screen may not be true.
  • The terms ‘troll’ or ‘trolling’ is someone who intentionally upsets people on the Internet by posting hate. These can be aimed at anyone. We see it a lot aimed at celebrities in the public eye. Remember, that people who do this, get a thrill of causing pain to another person. Rise above it, report it and block! 
  • Some of us find using social media as our first and only choice of activity for enjoyment. Instead, set times away from your phone to do stuff you enjoy. With this being said, do not go on social media before you go to bed. This will help you get to sleep better as your mind would be more relaxed.
  • Iphones can tell you how much ‘screen time’ you have had. This is how much time you have been on your phone and what apps you have been on mostly. Have a look at this and see where you can cut down.
  • Only join social medias that you are old enough to join, they have an age restriction for a reason!    
Social media does have its benefits, we can connect with our friends, learn new things, plan events and see what our favourite celebrities are up to but use these tips to ensure you use the sites well!

For more advice about looking after your wellbeing online, visit Student Minds website

Hello! My name is Ruby, and I am 20. I study at a University in Kent and have just finished the last of my essays from home and year 2 is now done! I have wanted to get involved with this blog because I study BA counselling, coaching, and mentoring and my aim is to become an integrative counsellor. 

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