Shaping My Online Habits

Written by: Jessica Baldachin

The more I used to use social media, the worse I felt. Whether it was from the lack of sleep due to aimless scrolling, sore eyes from staring at a bright screen at night or a lowered self-esteem from the unrealistic beauty standards I evaluated myself against- ultimately, I was unhappy.

After spending some time talking with my friends about the problems I was facing, I quickly realized I was not alone. They shared with me some suggestions which have helped me reduce screen time and create healthier online communities for myself.

Please see below the tips and tricks I use to curate my social media platforms so that it feeds me positivity and doesn’t feel draining (*these tips are what I use and therefore are for iPhone users. This being said, I believe many of the same settings are available for those who use other companies):

1. App limits: By going to “Settings” and then pressing “Screen Time”, you are able to set app limits on certain applications. By setting time limits, it has allowed me to be more conscious of how much time I am spending on certain apps and forces me to put my phone down if I exceed it. This is a great setting for habit and routine building!

2. Bedtime reminders: Through setting a bedtime reminder (can be done through the Alarm function), I have become more aware of what time it is as I typically find myself losing track of time as I scroll at night. By setting a realistic expectation for when I should be going to sleep, I am more likely to stick to it and turn my phone off soon after the reminder pops up.

3. Night Shift Mode: For when I am using my phone late at night, I turn on my phone’s “Night Shift Mode” to reduce blue light. This doesn’t leave my eyes feeling strained and dry the next day and doesn’t keep me up at night.

4. Unfollow sprees: Now and then I find myself liking photos of people who I don’t know. To curate my social media feed, I have been spending a few minutes every other week going through the accounts I follow and unfollowing people who I am not friends with and accounts which I don't align with. This has greatly helped my self-esteem and overall has made my platforms more exciting and engaging to scroll through.

5. Calling instead of texting: Instead of spending hours a day texting my friends and looking at a screen, I have shifted to calling them while I embark on long walks outside. While calling isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea, I have enjoyed finding ways to still connect with my friends while enjoying the nice weather and getting some exercise.

6. Turning off notifications: In settings, turning off your notifications for social media apps can make a huge difference in your screen time! Instead of feeling compelled to click on an app when a notification appears on my lock screen, I found myself only clicking the app when I truly wanted to spend some time on that platform. This helped me gain back control of when I chose to use social media and ultimately helped keep me focused on work throughout the day instead of taking many mini breaks.

While I know these tips may not work for everyone, I thought I would share what has been working for me! Have any tips of your own? Share them with a friend and together we can create happier and healthier online communities. :)