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How Is Social Media Affecting Me?

How Is Social Media Affecting Me?

 Do your parents allow you to use social media? If so, this article will help you in three important areas.

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 How is social media affecting my time?

 Being on social media is like riding a spirited horse—control it, or it will control you.

 “I’ll go on social media—supposedly for ‘just a few minutes’—then suddenly it’s hours later! Social media can be both addictive and a time waster.”—Joanna.

 Did you know? Social media is addictive because it is made to be that way. The designers know that the more popular a site is and the more time people spend on it, the more money advertisers will pay.

 Ask yourself: ‘Do I often lose track of time when scrolling through social media? Could some of that time be spent on more productive activities?’

 What you can do. Set a limit for how much time you will spend on social media, and stay within that limit.

Set limits on the time you spend on social media

 “I set a timer on my phone that locked me out of certain apps after a specified time. After being strict with myself for a while, I was able to find a balance that allowed me to use social media but not waste the day on it.”—Tina.

 Bible principle: “[Make] the best use of your time.”—Ephesians 5:16.

 How is social media affecting my sleep?

 Most experts say that teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep each night, but many are getting less. Use of social media may contribute to that problem.

 “I check my phone before I go to bed, and then I end up wasting hours scrolling through posts. It’s a bad habit that I’m trying to break.”—Maria.

 Did you know? Insufficient rest can contribute to anxiety and depression. According to psychology professor Jean Twenge, a lack of sleep is the ultimate dampener to mood. She adds that “over time,” sleep deprivation can lead to “serious mental health issues.” a

 Ask yourself: ‘How much sleep do I get each night?’ ‘Am I scrolling through social media when I should be winding down and getting ready for bed?’

 What you can do. Keep electronic devices out of your bedroom at night. Whenever possible, stop using screens two hours before bedtime. If you need an alarm to wake you up in the morning, consider using one that isn’t on a phone or tablet.

Stop using social media well before your bedtime

 “Sometimes I stay up late on my device, but this is a problem I’m working on. I need to start growing up, and that means being more responsible. I need to get to bed earlier so that I can function the next day at 100 percent.”—Jeremy.

 Bible principle: “Make sure of the more important things.”—Philippians 1:10.

 How is social media affecting my emotions?

 In one study, nearly half of high-school girls who participated said that they have “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.” Part of the blame may lie with social media. “The more time you spend on social media, comparing yourself to other people, the more likely you are to become depressed,” says Dr. Leonard Sax. b

 “It’s common for young people to compare themselves with others, and social media can make that tendency even worse. You can look at people randomly for hours and compare your life with theirs, or you can look at the fun things your friends are doing and feel like you’re missing out.”—Phoebe.

 Did you know? While social media can help you keep in touch with friends, it is no replacement for in-person conversations. “Electronic connection does not seem to satisfy our deep-seated need for true human contact,” writes Dr. Nicholas Kardaras. “It does not address the underlying need for real in-depth connection.” c

 Ask yourself: ‘Do I feel lonely after looking at what my friends are doing?’ ‘Do I feel that my life is boring compared with the seemingly exciting life that my friends depict on social media?’ ‘Do I become discouraged when something I post receives few or no “likes”?’

 What you can do. Try a “social media detox”—a break from social media that lasts a few days, a week, or even a month. Increase the amount of time you spend with friends face-to-face or on the phone. See if you begin to feel less stressed and happier during your break from social media.

Can you spend more time with your friends in person?

 “When using social media, I found myself focusing too much on what other people were doing. After I deleted my accounts, I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I suddenly had time to do more productive things.”—Briana.

 Bible principle: “Let each one examine his own actions, and then he will have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person.”—Galatians 6:4.

a From the book iGen.

b From the book Why Gender Matters.

c From the book Glow Kids.