01 Sep #ScrollFreeSeptember – here’s how to join in
This month, the Royal Society for Public Health have launched Scroll Free September, an ambitious UK campaign to get as many people as possible off social media for a month. The initiative is right up our street, and as such we are one of the supporters.
Going ‘scroll free’ for a month will give you a chance to reflect on what makes you feel good and bad, and how to improve your relationship with social media. As we have said before, there are now many studies out there that highlight the issues overuse of social media can cause; not least RSPH’s own report, #StatusofMind. And it’s hardly surprising that social media is having a negative effect when 7 in 10 young people have experienced cyber bullying and 1 in 5 young people wake in the night to check messages on social media. So there are many reasons why you should get involved in the initiative, and it might be less painful than you think.
But if the thought of no social media for a whole months gives you a fright, then don’t panic! Many people might be thinking that is just too much of a challenge, but RSPH have proposed five different ways that you can get involved. So whether you’re a tech detox pro, or just want to moderate your usage pro, you can take part.
This is the ultimate of social media detoxing; giving up all personal social media accounts for 30 days. There’s no doubt that this will be a challenge – no more mindless scrolling whilst on the bus or train; no more celebrity stalking and no more Twitter arguments. But there are many famous faces that have gone Scroll Free, and there’s nothing to say you can’t do so too. From Simon Cowell to Jennifer Lawrence, many are embracing the cold turkey approach after realising the positive impact it can have on their well-being. As Cowell has said after going without his phone for ten months; “It has been so good for my mental health and has absolutely made me happier.’”
For those that cannot bear the thought of coming off social media completely, the ‘social butterfly’ is a potential option. Rather than having a constant detox, just take a break from social media when at a social event. Whether this is dinner with family, or out with friends – social media should be an afterthought. If you can’t stop picking up your phone when you’re meant to be socialising, then it’s the first sign that you could be one of the many unwittingly addicted to social media, and participating in Scroll Free September through the “social butterfly” could be a great option.
For those who get home from work or school, and spend the majority of the evening on social media, then the ‘night owl’ may be a necessary way to tackle the issue at hand. FOMO has been linked as a driver of social media addiction, and with the evening time the most likely for FOMO to come to the surface, its a great time to just focus on the here and now and break from social media completely. So post 6pm log out of those apps and stay that way!
There’s no doubting that social media can affect productivity, particularly at school or in the work place. You might call it the perfect weapon of procrastination. So if you find yourself flicking onto Facebook in the workplace, or using Snapchat at school, it could be that the ‘busy bee’ is something to consider.
The importance of sleep for our physical and mental well-being is no secret, and the rise of social media addiction in the last few years has had a massive effect on many people’s sleeping patterns. So if you’re going through this list, thinking each one might be difficult, then you may well be able to get on board with the ‘sleeping dog’. Give up going on social media when you’re in bed and it could have a huge impact on your sleep, and your mental well-being.
For more tips and tricks to keep the whole family happy off screens, our new book Stop Staring at Screens is out in the UK on 6th September and the US on the 6th November. Pick up a copy here.