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Three Ways to Use Social Media Positively

“While notable shares [of teens] say they at times feel overwhelmed by the drama on social media and pressure to construct only positive images of themselves, they simultaneously credit these online platforms with several positive outcomes – including strengthening friendships, exposing them to different viewpoints and helping people their age support causes they care about,” according to a survey by Pew Research Center.

By age 12, 50 percent of young people in the United States use at least one social media platform. That means at least half of all youth are on social media and susceptible to both its positive and negative effects.

As children grow up and enter their teenage years, they are faced with unique situations – bullying, peer pressure, body image and more. These issues usually occur face-to-face, at school or during extracurricular activities; however, they can occur online through social media. Either way, these interactions can lead to increased feelings of depression and anxiety.

That’s why it’s important to be careful when using social media and focus on making it a positive and empowering environment. Here are three easy ways to use social media constructively:

  1. Connect with loved ones.
    Social media is a great way to stay in touch with your friends and family, whether they live nearby or across the globe. Use your social media channels to reach out and see how your loved ones are doing, share personal stories and photos and remind you of the important people in your life.
  2. Follow and share inspiring stories.
    Follow and share inspiring stories that make you feel confident and positive about your life. If a friend or influencer is sharing negative content that makes you anxious, sad or insecure, remove that person from your news feed. 
  3. Create a balance.
    Create a balance between using social media and focusing on what’s in front of you. Take time to connect with your loved ones not only through technology, but also through face-to-face interactions. This will help you be mindful of what’s real and most important to you.

These tips can help make social media a more positive experience that builds confidence, strengthens relationships and increases awareness. Young people can support each other when it’s needed most and understand when someone might need help – in person and online.

If you or someone you know is struggling with negativity from social media or elsewhere, remember that asking for help is okay. Mental Health First Aid can help you identify and understand your feelings and provide strategies on how to get the help you may need. Take a course today and #BeTheDifference.

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