Melissa Handley discusses how to maintain a healthy relationship with social media in today’s media saturated society. When is it time to put the phone away?

Growing up in a society where we’re constantly scrutinising ourselves and others, social media is almost impossible to escape from. According to DataReportal, there were 57.60 million social media users in January 2022 – this is in the UK alone. This phenomenal figure shows how much we as a society rely on social media on a day-to-day basis.

As a young person, you cannot hide from social media. Whether it’s Instagram, TikTok, Twitter or Snapchat, it will always reel you back in. With its fast-paced trends, high-profile celebrity news, or just keeping up with your friends- you feel behind when you go without it. 

But is it all getting too much now? Maintaining a healthy relationship with social media can be extremely difficult, and prioritising your mental and physical health is sometimes forgotten. The thing with social media is that it portrays a fake life. Everyone’s social media only showcases their highlights and things they want their followers to see. Does your Instagram showcase your everyday life?

Social media influencers have unintentionally put societal pressure on ‘normal’ people to live up to these unrealistic expectations. We forget that they get paid for uploading aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching content by brands and platforms. Although some content creators do upload parts of their not-so-perfect lives, it’s their job to portray a particular image.

How many hours of social media a day is too much? There’s no correct answer here, but by far, the most important factor is understanding how social media affects you. There are multiple ways in which social media can affect us – whether it’s positive, negative or indifferent. If media platforms are negatively shaping your identity and self-worth, this is a significant indicator that you may have an unhealthy relationship with them and that you might need to take a break.

I know what you’re thinking. How do you take a break? When taking a break from social media, I have personally found that you begin to live in the moment far more. Little things such as going for a walk, cooking and spending quality time with your friends/flatmates and family really matter. We live in a digital society, where instead of seeing a friend face-to-face, you can facetime them. Maintaining real-life relationships is something we, as humans, need to function. Now I’m not saying that you have to put your phone down completely, but little steps towards less screen time and a healthy relationship with your well-being are much more important than unrealistic social media platforms.

Social media affects all of us in different ways. Still, how we cope with our emotions, screen time, and physical health is essential. It’s okay if you need to take a break from your phone. Sometimes turning your phone off and taking in the little moments shapes us much more as humans than social media ever could. 

Edited by: Caitlin Phillips (Lifestyle Editor)

Header by: Sarim Mangi (Head of Design)


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