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“With teens, there is a level of validation. For example, if they don’t get a certain amount of likes on a post, they delete it. But social media shows you only what the person wants you to see so you can’t compare yourself to their ideal image that they have created. That’s just one version of themselves.” — Teyonna Ridgeway, social media specialist 

Photo: Maya Masters-Fairman

VOX 5: Five Tips For Having a Healthy Relationship With Social Media

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By Lala Tolbert, Queenstar Mensah, रूद्राक्ष Bhukhanwala, and Maya Masters-Fairman, VOX Media Cafe Reporters

I’ve been in a relationship for nine years now. We spend about thirty-two hours a week together. My phone and I are practically inseparable. You could say I spend more time with my phone than actual humans. How is this possible? It’s not that I want to break up with my phone, it’s just that I want to make time for other important things such as my family, my health, and my friends.

I want to be in a healthy relationship with my phone and see everything it has to offer without comparing myself to other people. Rather than tell you all the ways that social media is bad, I would prefer to list some ways you can regain control in your relationship with social media and take charge rather than let it run your life. How can I fix a toxic relationship with my phone and use it for its ultimate purpose?

“With teens, there is a level of validation. For example, if they don’t get a certain amount of likes on a post, they delete it. But social media shows you only what the person wants you to see so you can’t compare yourself to their ideal image that they have created. That’s just one version of themselves.” — Teyonna Ridgeway, social media specialist 

Take These Five Tips!

1. Get to know yourself

Personality tests are the best ways to get into the nitty-gritty of identifying reasons behind your behaviors, thinking, and long term planning. The Enneagram, a nine type personality analysis has become an upcoming tool for people to understand themselves better. According to an analysis by Bonnie Kristain, published in The Week news magazine, what makes the Enneagram stand out among other personality tests is its ability to point out personal flaws that are often ignored rather than reiterate strengths like the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) personality test does, for example. There are so many valuable resources regarding this personality test that can help you understand why you think and act the way you do. It is important to know yourself before you go onto social media and post about yourself for others to see. Exploring the Enneagram can help you realize that you shouldn’t feel bad or regret the way you feel when you act a certain way that is different from someone else. It is just your personality so understanding why you may feel the way you do when you make certain choices can be beneficial to how you relate to the world inside your phone. Here is the link to the Enneagram test so you can find out which personality type you are!

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2. Clock It

“All social media experience is done best with moderation and that’s something that the user has to regulate.” — Don Massey, user interface/user experience designer

Set a timer on your phone when you go into apps like Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, or Twitter because these types of apps require more time and are platforms that can consume your attention causing you to get deep into the social media content inside other people’s lives. Trying to create and stick with a schedule for screen time in general can be really hard. Rather than stay on a schedule, limit your screen time for certain apps through your settings or find other activities that distract you, such as going for a walk or reading a book for a set amount of time. If you keep your device in a place that is less accessible, it can also help regulate your time spent on social media.

3. Change Your Notifications

“Jet just posted for the first time in a while”

“We found new pins for you!”

“Go wish Emily a Happy Birthday”

“Breaking News: Ari Stole WHAT From the JoBros?”

We can thank Blackberry for initiating the use of push notifications as a way for users to receive updates for their emails immediately.  However, today according to the 2019 Business of Apps Review the average smartphone user receives over forty-six app push notifications per day.

To avoid constant distractions, start by disabling notifications that you don’t need from specific apps. Keep the ones that are important for communication, but set them to appear only on your lock screen. Doing this will take your mind off of constantly checking your phone to see what is going on inside your social media applications. If you think this won’t help, enable usage restrictions or time limits on certain apps.

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4. Think Before You Post

“What is your story and why does it matter? Before you post, you should always make sure you are posting something that represents you.” —Teyonna Ridgeway, social media specialist

Think about your audience before you post. What message are you trying to give people and if it’s a negative one that is harmful to others, reconsider posting it to avoid hurting someone and to maintain a good reputation. Use social media to express or promote things you are passionate about. If you are someone who is passionate about poetry or art, post some of your works and follow other people that share that same interest as a way to gain inspiration. It also gives you the opportunity to promote your work.

5. Follow People Who Add Value to Your Life

Who you spend time with is who you become. Instead of following people who you compare yourself to or people who constantly spread negative information, follow people who motivate and inspire you. Doing so allows you to further strengthen who you are as an individual as you might discover more things about yourself through other people. Remember, not everything you see on social media is true. It is just a small fraction of an individual’s life.

For More Tips, Check Out These Sites

  • McCarthy, Joy. “Whether You’re a Business Owner and/or a Blogger like Me and Find Yourself Feeling Overwhelmed with Social …” • Joyous Health, Joyous Health, www.joyoushealth.com/27088-blog-8-ways-to-have-a-healthy-relationship-with-social-media.
  • Levinson, Lauren. “8 Ways to Have a Healthier Relationship With Social Media.” Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart, 22 Feb. 2018, www.marthastewart.com/1525984/have-healthier-relationship-social-media.
  • Kahn, Nina. “Here’s How Apple’s Latest Privacy Feature Will Work When You Sign Into Social Media.” Bustle, Bustle, 5 June 2019, www.bustle.com/p/how-to-use-sign-in-with-apple-in-ios-13-to-log-in-to-your-social-media-with-one-click-17952569.
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