Though it’s easier said than done, sometimes the best way to improve our experiences on social media is to not just change how much we’re using it, but how we talk to others and react to what we encounter online.
Now, toxic is a heavy word. If you find out that some of your social media habits are, or can be, toxic, this doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person or that you’re the direct cause of other people’s problems through social media. Toxic habits are those that, if not addressed, can reach the point of doing damage to both yourselves and others, whether they are intentional or not. Some toxic habits regarding social media include the inability to close and instead constantly refreshing apps that include accounts that make you feel bad about yourself and cause negativity, as well as spending a significant amount of time filtering, analyzing, and downloading apps to help you curate the seemingly perfect life online. Other habits can include following – or even just checking in on – the accounts of people who have hurt you, trolls, and hateful accounts who don’t share the same opinions as you.
Toxic habits on social media can fester to the point where they can emphasize mental illness symptoms. Following accounts that promote unhealthy habits, such as extreme dieting or forcing positivity, can be triggering and guilt-inducing, and looking at troll accounts can make you angry and cause you to engage in fights and lash out. Caring too much about social media stats can make you incredibly anxious and over-analytical about actions you make both online and off, and if you feel like you’re constantly doomscrolling and can’t log off, you might end up triggering depressive symptoms and feelings of hopelessness.
As we begin the new year, you may want to reconsider how you’re using your social media accounts and if the way you engage online may possibly be toxic.
Have you ever had any toxic social media habits? Do you have any now? What would you like to do differently with how you use social media? You can ask questions about how to do so and your experiences with toxicity online and how it affected you on our discussion board here!