Social Media

Negative experiences on social media can carry more weight than positive interactions when it comes to young adults who are reporting depressive symptoms, according to a new study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety.
Recently, I went on vacation where a primary goal was not only to relax, but to have a digital detox. Things had been pretty stressful with work and family, and I knew I needed to just shut it all down. Vacation was just the antidote that I needed. No screens was a natural part of that.
I, like a vast majority of you, am on Facebook. I mainly use Facebook as a tool to keep in touch with those from the past. More recently, however, I’ve been using it to get information. I belong to groups specific to my needs where others can post questions, suggestions and information that might be helpful. Belonging to said groups had generally been a positive experience. That is, until it wasn’t.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at an event for an animal shelter, of which I am on the board. I posed for a picture with a pup, and posted it on my social media accounts. Shortly thereafter, I got a direct message from a distant friend. I note distant friend, because this is a friend who I really only engage with on social media. She is a friend that I respect and admire, and one that doesn’t know much about me, my life history or what is currently going on in the personal life. The direct message said, "Your face looks so thin, did you lose weight?"
A new study from Duke University found (as expected) that technology use can lead to increases in attention, behavior, and self-regulation problems in adolescents, but some positive outcomes to technology use were found as well. On days that adolescents spent more time using digital technologies, they were also less likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety.
For most of us, smartphones have become extensions of our hands. We rely on them for so much: to connect us to friends and family, to check the time, to manage our busy schedules, and if you’re in DBT therapy, to call your therapist for skills coaching. Our phones can be assets to our day, and they can also be distractions, leading us down a path of time-wasting and mindlessness. They can be reminders of all the stress in our lives, all the to-dos, and can be vehicles of jealousy and “FOMO” when on social media.

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