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  • Writer's pictureMaree Jones

Healthy Habits 1-5: Create a healthier relationship with social media

Want to have a healthier relationship with social media? Here are 5 ways to get started.

Healthy Habit #1: Know what your kids are doing and what they're exposed to.

From a recent article by Psychology Today: "Most previous studies have looked at the effect of social media on body image in women without looking specifically at behaviors. The researchers behind this latest study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, wanted to know whether social media time changed what actually kids did. They reported that 'a clear pattern of association was found between [social media] usage and [disordered eating] cognitions and behaviors with this exploratory study confirming that these relationships occur at younger‐age than previously investigated'."

Healthy Habit #2: It's okay to question the images you see. There is so much that's easily faked, manipulated or misattributed.

Fact: Images, videos, and other content can easily be manipulated. It's important to approach what you see and who you follow with a critical eye.

Healthy Habit #3: You may not need to remove social media completely from your life. You may, however, need a detox.

If everyone in your home, or you as an individual, set a reminder to be screen-free at a certain point during the day, it may help feelings of social media "addiction." Many articles claim that tempering use, rather than giving it up completely, is a healthy habit to set for yourself in the new year.

Healthy Habit #4: Clean out who and what you follow. Clear your news feed of clutter.

Many people feel a sense of relief when they unfollow people or accounts that yucky-up their news feeds. And, much like giving up social media, they tend to announce these things publicly. Mindful social media following is a practice to embrace daily, as what's in your news feed can end up feeding you mentally and emotionally.

Healthy Habit #5: Time yourself. That alarm sound or beeping can snap you out of mindless scrolling.

Time management is a smart social media habit to embrace. In a perfect world, social networks would give users a Netflix-esque notification. Instead of, "are you still there?" however, it would prompt users by alerting them to the amount of time they spent mindlessly scrolling.

"Ready for a break? You've been looking at #CatsOfInstagram for 15 minutes."

Setting a timer on your phone is one way to get started.

Permit yourself to scroll, for goodness sake, but for only 5, 10, or 15 minutes at a time.

You may find the time goes by quicker than you anticipated.

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