How to use social media to make the world a better place

Whether you’ve dived headfirst into the world of social media or you prefer to paddle in the shallow end, the online world plays a huge part in everyone’s lives – for better and for worse.

Listen up as Breeny, Jack, Fazia and Stevie discuss the impact of social media on their lives and how they try to use it in a positive way.

Here are their top tips on how to use social media as an inspiration, not just an aspiration.

Don’t believe everything you see

People only post what they want you to see: the smiley faces, perfect outfits and sunshine. No matter how ‘perfect’ someone’s life looks, they’re still human – they have just as many problems and hang-ups and have to do the same mundane chores as the rest of us! Forgetting this can be detrimental to your mental health, like Breeny explains:

"When you look on social media and you see other people living their ‘best life’ and think, ‘I’m not where I want to be’, it does start to affect your mental health."

You don’t need to buy into this. Remember you have a choice. Recognise if content makes you feel negative about yourself or your life and, if it does, choose to engage with something else instead, something that makes you feel good.

“Now I use social media to show people my reality,’ says Breeny.

Remember, real life doesn’t have a filter

It’s easy to start comparing yourself and your life with what you see online. Like Stevie says, "In TV and magazines you always see men depicted as the same type of person all the time – really tall, really built."

But don’t forget that with beautiful filters, make-up and apps at our finger tips anyone can make life’s little imperfections disappear. Try following accounts that show real life and inspire you, rather than bring you down.

The first time Stevie saw ‘normal’ images online of people looking like themselves it made him realise that he didn't have to change himself to fit into the perfect image.

“I was, like, I’ve wasted 12 years of my life trying to fit into a box that was never designed with me in mind!’" he says.

Have a purpose

What are you using social media for? If you don’t have a purpose for posting, scrolling and clicking, why are you there? Are you losing hours just passively staring at posts or are you actively engaging with what you see and read? Is it making your mind work or just distracting you? Is it teaching you new things?

Finding a reason to be on social media helped Faiza figure out her purpose:

“I know my purpose is to support others like me and show them that having a condition from birth doesn’t define who you are.”

Jack uses social media to connect with people and talk about his anxiety and depression:

“I think that talking about it is the first step for anyone to recover and to remove the stigma behind it. I wanted to be in touch with and connect with people I couldn’t connect with any other way, and form a community.”

Create a happy bubble

Choose who you follow and the messages you absorb. If it doesn’t make you happy, inspire you or teach you something new, unfollow it.

“When you find your group," says Jack, "people that make you feel good about what you do in yourself, really focus on building those positive relationships and if ever it does breach over into any negativity or anything unsafe just have the strength to cut this out."

How do you use social media in a positive way?

When you find your group or your clique or people that make you feel good about what you do in yourself, really focus on building those positive relationships and if ever does branch over into any negativity or anything unsafe just have the strength to cut this out.

I use social media in a positive way and let people know it’s ok to be who they are and to love themselves and to value themselves.

Social media is present in everyone’s lives, it’s just using it for positivity and things you get something back from. Don’t subject yourself to torment and comparison.

I use social media as a way of raising this platform. Yes, I live with a chronic illness, but it doesn’t shape who I am and I really want to spread this happiness.

Where to go for more support

There’s lots more advice and guidance on the Bitesize Support pages. Have a look at our mental health collection to get started.

You could also explore the advice on Young Minds, ChildLine and The Mix.

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