Negativity on Social Media
Since its inception, social media has been known as a means of online communication. What began as a tool to connect friends and family in an instant, while documenting daily activities online, has advanced into a global networking device, allowing individuals to join groups who share similar passions and interests and businesses to advance and connect with consumers in real-time.
Over the past few years, it has become a prominent source for raw news stories and the enactment of social justice and wrought with the sharing of religious beliefs and political agendas. The reality we are living in today is that social media is everywhere. There are over 3.5 billion users on social media, nearly 45% of the entire population. We now are spending more than three hours per day per person on social networks and messaging. It has become a huge part of our daily lives and for some, it’s hard to separate the online activities from the real world.
Today, we are relying on social media more heavily than ever - to help us stay connected in a world uprooted by a global pandemic. Consequently, we are being bombarded with too much information, from every aspect of our lives, and every aspect of everyone else’s lives that we choose to follow. We are witnessing everything from a worldwide pandemic, civil unrest, political upheaval, and catastrophic and sometimes horrific events being recorded live for all to see.
We are being constantly exposed to a lot of heavy information and negatively. As of 2018, adults spend over 11 hours per day interacting with technology. Our growing inability to disconnect is taking a major toll on our society. From increased anxiety to depression, and a sense of hopelessness or overwhelm, all of the time spent behind our devices is leaving a heavy impact on our daily lives. Now, one in five U.S. adults experiences some form of mental illness each year.
As adults, we can work to compartmentalize a lot of the information we are getting. We are better equipped to set our devices down and can tell when we’ve been plugged in for too long. Students have more of a tendency to keep going down the rabbit hole. Our younger generations are more likely to be consumed by negativity online. Unlike negativity students witness from individuals at school or work, social media negativity is always in our back pockets, just a click away. It follows our children everywhere. With their lives revolving around these devices, it’s vital we teach them how to diminish some of the negativity they are seeing and feeling every day.
There are a handful of actions you can take to begin the fight against negative emotions provoked by posts you and your followers' witness…
- Don’t spread misinformation: Check your sources and the accuracy of the information you are reading and sharing. Spreading information that isn't true can trigger panic. This is a good opportunity to help combat other posts you see by sharing positivity online.
- Limit your exposure: It’s time to change the channel. Challenge yourself to exposure to once daily or every few days. Odds are you aren’t going to miss very much. And you can catch up later.
- Permission to pause: Give yourself and your loved ones permission to pause. Consider calling instead of sending a text. Don’t need to feel guilt from walking away from social media at this time. Most things are great in moderation. It can be harmful if that is the only thing you are exposed to for an extended period. Don’t be afraid to mute someone on various platforms if their posts become too much for you to handle.
- Ignore the trolls: Don’t engage in negative behavior online. People who troll often are looking for your reaction so don’t provide them with that satisfaction.
Negativity is a thief that steals happiness. Take this time as an opportunity to spread positivity and peace online.