6 Steps to Transform your Toxic Relationship with Social Media Into a Healthy One

September 21, 2020
6 Steps to Transform your Toxic Relationship with Social Media Into a Healthy One

This weekend, I hopped on the bandwagon and watched “the Social Dilemma”, a Netflix documentary on the dangerous impact of social media on our lives. As someone who works in tech and who is studying in the field, a lot of the information discussed in the film wasn’t new to me. However, the way the documentary was constructed really struck a chord with me, which lead me to make some changes in my relationship with social media. Here are a few steps I’ve taken so far.

Disable Notifications

This is a great one to help you not pick-up your phone every 5 minutes. My long term goal is to make a sustainable change, so I’m starting small and will increase as I go. I’ve disabled my notifications for Instagram and Snapchat, which are the two apps I get the most notifications from. Even though it’s only been a few days, I’ve seen a huge difference in the amount of times I pick-up my phone in a day and in my time consumption.

Do not Click on Recommendations From the App’s Algorithm

This is one I got from the documentary. Recommendations are designed to make you use the app/platform as long as possible. Usually, recommended content is the one that is most engaged with. Unfortunately, fake news, conspiracy theories, false information, etc. are usually the most popular ones since it’s usually shocking . Therefore, by watching recommendations, you’re helping develop an algorithm that suggests fake information to the world.

Fact check everything you share

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I can’t stress enough how important this one is. Especially throughout this global pandemic, it is extremely important to make sure the information we share, whether it’s online or offline, is factually right. There are so many rumours spreading online. Unfortunately, they are usually the ones that are the most shocking and “share worthy”.

Limit the Time you Spend on Social Media

Ask yourself how much time you want to spend on social media per day. In order to give yourself sustainable goals, take a look at your current social media time screen time. Now, reduce that amount by a quarter and try it out for one or two weeks. Then, you can decrease your screen time limit by even more. This way, it’ll be easier to incorporate this screen time limit in your lifestyle without making any harsh and unsustainable changes.

Put your Phone on Silent Mode

If you don’t do this already, you definitely should. You’ll see a huge increase in your focus and productivity. There’s no way you can focus on a task when your phone is constantly beeping and making noises. Follow this rule: keep your phone on silence unless you’re waiting for a specific call.

Use a Search Engine that does not Store your History/Data

To be honest, I have yet to make this change, but I’m planning on making it in the near future. Google tracks everything you do, from which website you visited to how long you visited each page to what purchase you’ve made. Not only does Google sell that data, YOUR data, to companies, it also tailors the search results you get depending on where you are located, your search history, your preferences, etc. This also helps the propagation of fake new, false information and conspiracy theories. You can try out DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t store your history or any of your data and shows the same results to all of its users.

Let me know if you tried any of them, we can support each other in making those changes! Also, if you haven’t already, watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix and I’d love to chat about it with you on Instagram.