Does a Teen Therapist Think Social Media Is Bad For Your Mental Health?

Have you seen that show,
“The Circle”, on Netflix? It’s all about how different contestants use social media to
connect with one another. They all have very
strong opinions about it. One particular player on the
show calls it “Social Medusa.” He believes that social media is the devil and it’s ruining our society. Is social media bad
for your mental health? (optimistic music) As a teen therapist, do
I think that social media is bad for your mental health? Well, you gotta watch
this video to find out. Hi, I’m Mallory Grimste,
I’m a teen therapist and I love making mental health videos. I think at this point,
you know that I’m a pretty considerate person, I like
to look at all angles. It’s probably because I’m trained as a dialectical behavior
therapist, which is all about looking at the both/and of
situations, not either/or. Let’s consider the
information that we know about social media. Social media is all about
forming connections. It has the word social in
the title for a reason. By engaging with each
other on social media, we’re able to find and form communities and stay in touch with
loved ones and friends, which can be really helpful. Forming strong social
connections and support is really important for improving anyone’s mental health and wellbeing. On the flip side, social media can be pretty isolating at times. If you are noticing and
seeing lots of photos or videos of friends
hanging out without you, and you didn’t know
about it, that can feel really hurtful and painful,
and since you’re only seeing a snapshot of what’s happening, it’s tough to know what
the circumstances were that you weren’t included,
so it can make you feel like you’re not part of the group or that other people
aren’t considering you, and that may not actually
be the case at all. Social media can be a
really great resource for gathering information. It can be really easy and
quick to ask a question and get a response
right away in real time. Companies and businesses today
are even more accessible, the more and more that
they’re on social media, so it can be really helpful
if you’re like in a pinch and you just need some
information right away, you can ask a question on social media, I do it all the time, and you
get real feedback response. That being said, there’s
also a lot of misinformation on social media. Just because somebody posts a response doesn’t mean that they know
what they’re talking about. Most of you know that
if you’re not an expert or you’re not sure about something, you’re not gonna post it as fact, but some people truly
believe ideas or concepts or things that they’ve been
told aren’t true at all. For example, just because
somebody posts an image of themselves doesn’t
mean that they actually look like that in real life. There are so many filters
and photo editing apps that are easily accessible to anybody now that it can make it really
easy to portray yourself as somebody that you’re
not, which leads me into my next point. With social media, we have a
lot more access to each other. People are able to get in touch with me on Facebook, Pinterest,
Instagram, YouTube, email, snail mail, text message, phone call. That’s eight different
ways, plus also making an appointment with
me, nine ways (laughs). I’m sure there’s more,
that means that people have a lot more ability to access me directly, just like I can with them, so that can be really cool if you’re wanting to stay in touch with somebody. At the same time, that
can feel really exposing. Like you have to be very intentional about setting boundaries and limits with how much access
somebody can have to you, so by limiting the amount of social media that you participate
or choose to engage in, you can keep it to one to two platforms and that can really be helpful in limiting you feeling so exposed and vulnerable, plus it’s a lot to keep up with. One of the really cool
things about social media is that when you find
somebody or some information that you connect with, it
helps you feel not alone. It can be really validating when you see a post or an image or a video that just feels really relatable, like oh my gosh, they get
me, they totally understand. On the flip side of that,
when you are constantly being inundated with
information and messages and images left and right, it can lead you to being really
impressionable, so it’s always a good idea to check
in with your intuition or your gut of is this helping
me or is this hurting me? Is this actually what I like or is this being told what I like? And of course, especially
if you’re watching a video like this, you
know that social media can be really entertaining. It’s really easy to go down
the YouTube rabbit hole of watching video after video after video after video, they’re really
good about suggesting videos just for your interests, which is why it’s really important to check in, okay, am I using this social media right now to entertain myself or am I using it to avoid or numb out from my problems? Using entertainment to
take a healthy break from an issue can be really helpful. When you never go back and
revisit the issue or problem, that’s called avoidance and then you have a whole other situation
going on, so you just want to check in, am I using this to avoid my real life and
problems, or am I using it to just kinda give me a little peace, a little restorative rest,
and then I can go back, to it a little emotionally stronger. So I just want you to
check in for a moment and ask these four questions, as you consider is
social media good or bad for my mental health. Are you connecting with your family and friends in real
life, too, or is it only on social media? Are you going on social media to numb out and avoid your problems, or do you go back with a solution? How much time are you actually
spending on social media? If you happen to have
an iPhone, they give you a screen time report you can check in on. If you don’t happen to have an iPhone, there are tons of apps and programs that you can use to help
track your social media usage. How do you feel physically and emotionally before, during, and after
you use social media? Okay, so verdict time. Just like anything else in life, I think that there are
really great components of social media and there
are really unhealthy components of social media. It can be really powerful for coping and relationship building. At the same time it can
be really isolating, leading you down dark paths. Does a teen therapist
think that social media is good or bad for mental health? So my answer is yes and no. Ultimately I think it’s
a one to one personal, individual evaluation or
assessment that you have to do, so just like with coping
skills, the most important question that you need
to be asking yourself in considering is this good or bad for your mental health, is this helping or is this hurting me, and that’s it. I hope that you found this information valuable and helpful and if you did, please be sure to share this video, because you never know
who you could be helping in the process, and if
you want to know more about how to protect
yourself on social media, I have a wonderful video that’s
on your screen right now. Thanks for watching!

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