It’s time for a digital detox and social re-collaboration…
In respect of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) #Scroll Free September campaign, encouraging people to take a break from social media, Language Learners Journal is ‘switching off from social media’ during September, but don”t worry we will still be offering online coaching sessions and will be checking our business emails (but only once in the morning and once at 5pm) then completely logging off after 6pm!
The Scroll Free September campaign accompanies the launch of a second parliamentary inquiry in less than 12 months into the impact of social media use on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. With a background in postgraduate psychology and working as a professional in mental well-being, this is a campaign that Language Learners Journal founder Trisha Dunbar fully supports. Although social media can have many positive benefits such as connecting people across cultures, unfortunately, there are darker aspects too…
Researchers, discovered back in 2015 that people who were heavy users of screen-based media were less happy and had more social and emotional problems than their peers who used it more moderately.
Research has also shown that girls may be more likely than boys to compare their lives with those of friends and peers – whether those are ‘filtered’ selfies or positive posts about friendships, relationships or material possessions – these could lead to feelings of inadequacy, lower levels of satisfaction and poorer well-being. The pressures associated with having peers like or ‘approve’ status updates and a perceived fall in or lack of popularity could add further pressure at, what for many teenagers, is a tricky time in their lives.
So far one of the key takeaways of this research project is how social media is linked to lower levels of happiness. These effects are not only short-term – they have longer-term consequences!
Other research has shown heavier users of social media getting too little sleep or having trouble getting to sleep because they are constantly checking accounts at bedtime; increased risk of experiencing cyberbullying either as victims or perpetrators; lower levels of self-esteem or a negative view of how they look!
The Preliminary Findings
- Heavy users of social media are less happy and have more problems at school and at home – interventions to help them limit and manage their social media use better are likely to be important.
- Girls are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of social media and may be an important group to focus on among those looking to mitigate these effects.
- More hours spent on social media appear to impact negatively on young people’s wellbeing and could have knock-on effects for their longer-term prospects at school and work.
Our research indicates that it may indeed be time for recommended healthy and safe limits of social media use and that a focus on girls, especially initiatives to boost their mental health, could help mitigate some of the negative effects.
RSPH is hoping that going Scroll Free this September might give us all a chance to get our social media to use a little more balanced, to think about the benefits to be enjoyed and the negatives to be avoided.
As well as pausing to think about our social media use and how it affects us, it will be an opportunity to examine the facts of the matter, a time to digest new, solid evidence that these large-scale studies can help us with and consider the potential longer-term costs and consequences of doing nothing.
If going cold turkey for 30 days is too much the RSPH has put together five different plans that you can select from, each with their own well-being benefits…
- Cold Turkey – giving up all personal social media accounts for 30 days… what could you do with the extra time?
- Social Butterfly – taking a break from social media at all social events and taking the time to be fully present in relationships…
- Night Owl – taking a break from social media every evening, after 6 pm and spend time with those that really matter to you!
- Busy Bee – ‘Bee’ more productive and take a break from personal social media accounts when in school or at work!
- Sleeping Dog – giving up social media in the bedroom to improve your quality of sleep
The idea is that, by going Scroll Free for a month, users will have a chance to reflect on their social media use with the aim of building a healthier, more balanced relationship with it in the future.
See you in October, let us know how you get on and the impact that logging off of social media has had on your language learning!
https://www.rsph.org.uk/about-us/news/guest-blog-taking-time-out-to-go-scroll-free.html [Accessed 5th August 2018]