10 Oct World Mental Health Day 2021: Mental Health and Tech
World Mental Health Day is back again for 2021 and it’s time again to review the relationship between tech and our mental health.
It is well documented, whether anecdotally or from research, that using social media or any kind of tech excessively can lead to poor mental health outcomes. During the dark days of lockdown, many of us turned to the one thing that could not be cancelled: social media. Social media allows us to connect to whoever we want, whenever we want. However, as was shown earlier this week, social media has also allowed tech companies such as Facebook and Instagram to exploit users’ mental health, with little to no consequences.
Facebook and Instagram: Impact on Mental Health
Though they have always denied it, this week Facebook and Instagram were hit with a leak of documents. The headlines showed that tech companies were less than benevolent in protecting the mental health of their users. These leaked documents show that 32% of teenage girls reported increased worries about their body image when viewing Instagram. As if this was not bad enough, these girls are part of the core Facebook demographic of users aged 22 or under, who make up 40% of Instagrams users. It’s clear that Facebook and Instagram knew the potential of their product to cause a decline in mental health. What’s also clear is that we the consumer, need to find ways to regulate these potential effects.
Digital Detox Tips for World Mental Health Day
1. Free Up Space
One of the effective ways of detoxing is good old deletion. Try going a day without social media, without the stress of constant notifications and see how good you feel afterwards.
2. Get Back to Nature
There is so much in the world around us that we just don’t see. Get out to your local park. Take a stroll down the river. Or just read a book in the garden. There are numerous health benefits, plus that feeling of contentedness.
3. Internet Free Time at Home
Let’s face it: no one wants everyone to be on their phone during family time. Set times in the day where you put down all tech and communicate with another person face to face. You will find you get more out of this type of communication than a DM on Instagram.
4. Curate Your Feed
So much of the problematic aspects of social media come from its comparison culture. Curating your feed to eliminate those accounts that make you feel badly about yourself is one of the best things you can do. Be ruthless, unfollow, block and mute everything which doesn’t positively impact your mental health.
For more tips and tricks about how to improve your mental health this World Mental Health Day, our new book ‘My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open’ is available to order now.