Americans may be online more than ever due to pandemic-era remote schooling and work. However, social media habits have changed somewhat, according to a recent survey by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The survey of 2,000 learned that just one in five respondents understood the need to take breaks from using social media — to disconnect from “scroll downing” habits.
“Stepping away and reconnecting with reality offline is an important step to take for your mental health,” said Ken Yeager, Ph.D., director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) Program at Wexner. “Being constantly immersed in this stressful environment and being overexposed to contentious or traumatic events can make you feel like the world is a less safe place to be. And because these stressors have persisted over a long period of time, it’s wearing on people’s ability to cope with that stress.”
Healthline.com June 1 warned: “If you’re starting to feel like social media is messing with your self-esteem or overall happiness, it might be a good idea to take a step back and make some changes to your social feeds or habits.”
Yeager offered two options as part of a daily social media diet:
1. Purposefully reconnecting in person or virtually with family members or friends.
2. Volunteering regularly in some capacity — tackling tasks at home, church, a food bank, etc.
Healthychildren.org in a “Challenges and Opportunities During the Outbreak” report offered other ideas, such as:
3. Sticking to a schedule; turning off phones during schoolwork time, for example.
4. Making social media scrolling off limits during mealtimes.
5. Considering downtime alternatives such as listening to music, watching a movie, reading, playing games, getting exercise, learning a skill, enjoying a hobby or completing a craft.
6. Playing games with a friend online instead of scrolling social media.
7. Taking a virtual tour of a museum or walking through the Grand Canyon with Google Earth, for example: “Challenge your teen to research 10 places they might like to visit someday and show you why.”