“Using Social Media In Moderation- Can It Help Mental Health?”


Clare Acuti, Staff Writer

Recently in Mr. Rinn’s health class, we watched the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma and we conversed about how social media affects teenagers and adults on a daily basis. What I took away from that lesson is that social media can be damaging when it comes to self-image, but there are also some very positive platforms where we can be supported and our confidence can be boosted. That’s why I have been trying to search for a happy medium and a way to use social media in moderation. I want to share some ways that we can cut down on social media use, and I will explain my take on the experience.


This is something that I’ve been trying out since the hybrid learning schedule started at the beginning of the year. When we are at home learning virtually and when we are in school, we are constantly using our computers. There is also a large chance that you are going on Snapchat or Instagram in between classes or even during classes (which I wouldn’t recommend). When you get home or when you close your laptop at the end of the day, it can be so tempting to go on your phone and start snapping people. My advice is to try and take a step back from your phone. Maybe try and start working on some of your homework for the night so that you will feel less stressed as the day goes on. You can also try reading or even doing a quick workout to feel refreshed. The main purpose of taking a break is to be productive and to take your eyes off a screen for one or two hours. Normally after a long school day, I will have sports, so I get an automatic break in between screen time. Having that break from social media and seeing what is going on in other people’s lives helps me get more in touch with what I have going on and what I want to achieve.


In our generation, it is pretty common for friends to spend their time hanging out with each other on their phones. Even if you are having a conversation with each other, it is pretty weird that we can sometimes snap each other while talking in person. I think that using social media and our phones in moderation can start with trying to stay in the moment, especially when we are with people we enjoy spending time with. When you put your phone down to focus on the people around you, it makes them feel heard and respected. In my experience, some of my favorite memories with my friends come from having deep and meaningful conversations that last for hours. Social media platforms like TikTok can show you multiple different topics and stories in a matter of minutes, and sometimes it’s important to stay interested and invested in one talking point at a time.


One of the biggest things for teenage girls, in my experience, is posting on Instagram. When going to birthday parties or events, it is always a necessity to take pictures that can be posted. This was always something that made me nervous because I don’t always consider myself to be the most photogenic person. I feel like girls can be compared to Instagram models and famous people who are styled by a glam squad and have someone to cook their healthy meals everyday. It is hard to live up to this impossible standard or expectation that we set for ourselves in pictures. Half of the time, some of these models photoshop their pictures. My advice is to take a step back and understand that posting on Instagram isn’t always necessary when you go to a party or event. You shouldn’t feel pressured to post and you shouldn’t feel upset when your face or your body doesn’t look “perfect” because there is no such thing as perfect. Make sure that when you post, you are posting for yourself and you understand that you don’t need to look like all of the famous people out there.


This is a very important adjustment that I think everyone should make. Before going to bed, try not to scroll through TikTok or other platforms because we normally end up staying on them for longer than we intend. This affects the amount of sleep we get and when we finally close our eyes, the things we just saw on social media can be what we are thinking about. Instead, listen to music before going to bed, read, or even meditate to get yourself ready for a good night’s sleep. This way, you can go to sleep at a more reasonable time and you can reflect on the day you just had and think about what you have to do the next day.

In the past few weeks since that lesson, I have been trying to restrict my social media usage and I can say that I feel better about myself, I have gotten more sleep, I have been more productive, and I have enjoyed my free time much more. I feel like I am more in control of my life and I am happier everyday. This is something that I have had to change little by little. You don’t realize how tempting it is to look at your phone until you try and stop using it for a while. You can still use your phone to contact your friends, study, and watch shows but it can be refreshing to step away from some of the more addictive and toxic aspects of technology and social media. This definitely worked for me so try it out and see if it helps you!