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Ten ways to stay in control of your social media use

Hester Phillips

03 October 2023

Lots of us love social media, but it can have its downsides too. If you ever feel stressed or bad when scrolling through, or find it hard to step away, read on

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Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour. Credit: iStock/ FG Trade

Social media can bring lots of joy. It’s how many of us express ourselves, stay in touch, form connections, learn about the world and get advice – including about sexual health. But it can have its downsides too.

Do you regularly feel bad about yourself after spending time looking at your social feeds? Do you feel lonely and isolated? Or just feel like you spend too much time staring at your screen? If the answer is yes to any of those questions read on for our tips for staying in control and happy when it comes to social media.

1. Turn off your data or put your device away at certain times of day

Choose any time of day that suits you. Choosing the evenings or just before bed can also help you sleep better. Some phones have settings that can help with this too.

2. Set yourself a daily time limit then reward yourself with a treat each week if you stick to it

This can be a great motivator. And if you find that spending less time on social media is making you happier and less worried, it can make you even more determined.

3. Spend time with people in real life who make you feel good

Connecting with people via social media can be great. But if comments or chats turn nasty it can really hurt. That’s why it’s so important to spend time with people in real life who like and appreciate you.

4. Put your device in another room when you sleep

If you check social media during the night, or are scrolling as you fall asleep or as soon as you wake up, this one is for you. Putting away your device can help you sleep better, which is so important for your mental health.

5. Turn off your notifications

This stops you from reacting to every like, comment and post when it comes in. Instead, you can be in control of when you check your social media and when you respond.

6. Talk to your friends about social media

You won’t be the only one who has had a negative social media experience. Sharing these experiences with friends can really help.

7. Write down your worries

If you compare yourself to others on social media and feel bad, write down what you’re feeling then write something positive about yourself. This can help you appreciate what you’ve got. For instance, say you’re worried you’ll never be as rich or as attractive as someone you’re following. Write this down, then write down something you are grateful for, or a part of your appearance that you like.

8. Remember your strengths

If you feel like the people you see on social media are better than you, remind yourself of your own strengths and the positive things in your life. Why not write down something you’re good at, something you are grateful for, and one thing you like about yourself and your life.

9. Walk away

If a person or social media account makes you feel bad then hide, mute or unfollow them. You have the power to stop looking at posts and content that upset you, so why not use it?

10. Check your sources

If you see information or advice on social media, check where it comes from. If it’s from a website you trust (like Be In the Know) then great. But if you do not trust or recognise the source, look at other trusted information sources to fact-check what you have seen.

Interested in hearing more? Check out our blog on spotting social media risks and our page on looking after your mental health

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