Our phones can be addictive, or at least for some of us. You may find yourself scrolling and scrolling on social media, but is it any good for you? While technology and social media can certainly have a lot of benefits for you and society, they might also take a toll mentally and socially.
Social media can sometimes lead to feelings of envy, low self-worth, or anger. Why does this happen? It appears that social media’s influence on mental health is beginning to get some exposure in medical and psychological circles.
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If you’re starting to feel like you are losing control when it comes to using your phone and social media apps, then it’s a good time to take a step back and reflect on what you really want in life. How can your phone serve you better as a tool in your arsenal to improve yourself?
Balancing social media
Social media apps have been designed to be addictive, and it’s easy to get caught in a loop of scrolling without realizing what you’re doing. While of course these apps also serve to provide you with information and social tools to get together with your friends, they can also end up wasting your time if you don’t use them right.
You have to decide for yourself whether this technology is fit for you or not. But you needn’t take an “all-or-none” approach. There are a few things you can do to help stay focused.
If you have an Android device, you are able to completely change how the UI (user interface) of your phone looks and operates. Whatever phone you have, it’s good to start by deleting apps that you no longer use or that are too addictive for you. Organize your home screen so it’s sorted for your ease of use, and hide away addictive apps or unused apps.
If you have an Android device, try the Niagara Launcher. It helps you streamline your home screen to show you a list of the apps you use the most and hides the rest. While they’re still accessible, opening them up becomes very intention-based instead of impulse-based.
Notifications from apps can be distracting, taking you away from tasks you should be doing. Minimalist launchers can help by providing ways to manage notifications such as filtering, silencing, scheduling, and prioritizing to help us stay focused on our tasks.
Phone manufacturers have identified that people want to create boundaries with their phones. There are now options to silence notifications with “do not disturb” and other digital wellbeing tools. You can turn off app notifications and even monitor the time spent on each app.
Healthy media ‘diet’
Something else that can affect your mental health and overall wellbeing is the content you consume. There is a lot of content out there, much of which may be entertaining, but not all of which is good for you. Much like the food you choose to eat, what information you put in your mind is also important.
In the British comedy TV show Black Books, Manny, a stressed-out accountant, seeks to find relief from his stress by purchasing a “little book of calm.” However, during his busy workday, he accidentally swallows the book. After being taken to the hospital, doctors inform Manny that the book is lodged near his pancreas and that he may die as a result. But the next day, Manny undergoes a transformation — the doctors can no longer find the book in his body; his mind becomes one with the book bringing him to a peaceful state.
While the above is a silly comedy sketch, it does provide a good metaphor that the content we consume on a daily basis will have a cumulative effect, which can either be positive or negative. Many types of content, even if they seem harmless, can still foster negative emotions. You become desensitized through repeatedly seeing content with controversial or negative themes, such as drug use, sexual references, bullying, risky dares or challenges, or highly opinionated content. With such things being quite normalized on the Internet, you might not stop and think twice about how viewing them will affect your mental health or worldview.
Ganjing World: Keeping it clean
The things you see and hear can leave a deep impression on your mind and the way you think. The content you consume is no different. Ganjing World is a video platform similar to YouTube that is committed to maintaining clean and appropriate content on its site, in line with the meaning of “ganjing” in Chinese. They focus on providing a curated space with content free from “violent, erotic, criminal or harmful content.” (Ganjing World).
With an array of videos and articles, there is an abundance of thought-provoking and inspiring content to help you through life or simply just to entertain you for a few minutes, but without any of the harmful themes and content that can be found on the Internet. This makes it safe for you to browse the site freely with your children without fear of stumbling upon anything inappropriate, while also feeling assured that you can allow them to use the site without as much supervision. Of course, check it out yourself first to see what you think.
Ganjing World’s mission is as follows: “Our mission is to create a family-friendly, wholesome digital town square that allows people of all ages to freely share knowledge, ideas, viewpoints, and entertainment without fear of censorship. Following our four guiding principles: ‘No violence, no pornography, no crime, and no drugs or harm,’ Gan Jing World is committed to being safe, impartial, and diversified.” (Ganjing World).
Ganjing World offers you another useful tool in your arsenal to both improve yourself and your overall wellbeing, while providing a clean online space for everyone to enjoy.
The world is complex and fast-paced with many challenges. It’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed. If you can make conscious choices about the way you use your phone and the information you take in, and focus on positive, self-growth, educational entertainment and content, you can improve your outlook on the world and your own life. Hopefully, with a few small changes, you can find balance and peace.