Every week in my newsletter I follow the stories of the week as they relate to tech, education, and literacy.
One of the threads that I cover somewhat regularly is possible connections between depression and the (bloated) concept of screentime.
As I was engaging in my digital detox for the month of August, I was wondering…is social media really bad for us?
Evidence suggests the more time you spend on social media, the worse you’ll feel. Use of social media platforms has been shown to increase feelings of depression and anxiety and reduced life satisfaction.
Even brief Facebook use can make people feel bad. Just checking out your feed for 20 minutes, rather than randomly browsing the internet, brings about sad or depressing feelings.
Perhaps it is the stress of consuming and creating more information in these channels that is putting us at risk for more negative physical and physiological health?
This post from the BBC Future blog shares an overview of research as it relates to health and social networking spaces. It examines the impact on stress, mood, anxiety, depression, sleep, addiction, self-esteem, well-being, relationships, envy, and loneliness.
In fact, Facebook started examining this in 2017 and they basically said…”yeah…we’re bad for you.” This is akin to cigarette manufacturers putting out a press release suggesting that cigarettes are bad.
Facebook’s response is that they’ll give you a better news feed, give you options to snooze, and get you in touch with suicide prevention.
Take a break
Perhaps you need to take a break from social media. You don’t even have to quit entirely; studies show that just avoiding Facebook for a short time can provide a significant boost to a person’s sense of well-being.
We spend time teaching youth how to engage in digital practices and many times this is to prepare them to engage, connect, and participant in online spaces. Is this what we really want? Is this the type of future that we want for youth?
Maybe we have it all wrong.
Just because we could…doesn’t mean that we should.