We just watched 'The Social Dilemma' a Netflix documentary highlighting issues with social media, phones and the effects it has on our lives. With a huge increase in the use of social media and the clear links with mental health, we thought we would share some of the issues with you so you can be aware of how social media and your phone can affect your health. We will of course be sharing it via our own social media channels, hopefully in a responsible way!
In the documentary ex-employees of various social media companies shared past experiences of how they worked and how they encourage 'user' engagement. Almost everybody had ethical issues with how the company ran their app, most of which was the reason why they left the business.
Some employees wouldn’t let their children use the apps!
Why is this relevant to your health?
What you surrounding yourself with impacts your mood and mindset, which in turn may affect us achieving our goals. Having a social media feed of negative influences, such as following people who don't inspire you, apps that constantly demand (and waste) your time, or looking at the 'perfect fitness models' will massively impact how you go about your day and how you feel about yourself.
Recognising how you can improve your time on your phone to prioritise your goals and may help you accomplish your goals. In this blog we will share with you our thoughts on the documentary and share some tips on how you can limit the negative impact of social media on your health.
Why is it so addictive?
We all know it is addictive, you get a buzz or flashing light from your phone and your just itching to find out what it is, the problem is, they want our attention and they know how to get it.
The documentary sheds light on how social media apps gathers information and uses it to grab your attention for as long as possible. They monitor how long you're on the app, how long you look at each post and what you look at. This all makes up algorithm that predicts what you want to look at next, which they can tailor, which keeps you on the app longer.
Facebook and Google don’t sell anything themselves, they just benefit from sales through their website. The product is you and your attention. They control what you see. The more you look, the more you consume, the more you post, the more they benefit. Because we don’t pay to use these platforms, advertisers pay for their products to be shown. Therefore, each platform is competing for your attention, making us the product.
The strategy of grabbing your attention is based on positive reinforcement and dopamine hits that are addictive. Social media is addictive both physically and psychologically. According to a new study by Harvard University, self-disclosure on social networking sites lights up the same part of the brain that also ignites when taking an addictive substance.
Your mental health and mindset
There is an fairly undeniable correlation between the rise in social media and the rates of depression and mental illness. As of 2019, there were 5 billion mobile users, that’s over half the global population, this figure is consistently growing. This has led to a variety of problems, including the psychological distress in increases by 71% from 2008 to 2017.
A large factor of this is due to the forever changing beauty standards and photoshop which creates an unrealistic image of what is the normal body. Celebrities and the media fast track any trend, making it hard to keep up with as well as creating an image of beauty and 'health' that Is unattainable!
Allowing yourself to be aware of this side of the media can help you avoid the negative views on your own body and start a positive journey towards a better mindset!
Phone have made a massive impact on one of the most important aspects of our lives; Sleep!
Blue light emitted by phone screens restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm). This makes it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day. On average, we sleep a whole hour less than we did 100 years ago.
The addictive nature phones mean that stopping before going to sleep is increasingly harder and harder, furthermore the notifications used to keep your attention actively keep you awake.
Facts around sleep:
Getting a decent amount of sleep per night will massively improve your overall health and wellbeing, therefore making it easier to achieve your goals.
Can Social Media help you?
Lets face it, social media is there to stay for now and doubt many people reading this blog are going to come off it completely. If we 'use' it in a responsible way I believe that it could be a positive thing. But we need to keep control, remember if you decide to delete social media for a while, it's not a big deal. In fact it would probably be healthy for you to take a break every now and then!
The documentary recommends on a few simple things that would be a good start towards using social media in a more positive way.
On average, people pick up their phone once every ten minutes, (not necessarily a good thing) so making your phone a constant positive and motivating place will eventually be reinforced into your everyday life. However finding less reasons to go on there would be even better!
Who you follow or what you look at on your phone massively impacts your outlook and subconscious?
Perhaps it is time you 'cleaned' your feed or went for a social media break?
Surround yourself with positive influences, it will help you succeed.