Screen Time and Mental Health

I can’t remember a life without my smartphone. It has streamlined my work life, connected me to my friends and makes me feel a part of something bigger. Currently, I wince when I see television shows without masks or social distancing. My smartphone along with its plethora of social media platforms is the one element of normality that I have depended on. As of today, there are more than 3 billion people who are in a similar position to me. However, it is important to consider that while my devices are indispensable; it’s important that I’m aware of all the effects it has on me.

Evidently, it’s wonderful to see everything that our friends are up-to. Seeing people live their best lives in these unprecedented times can be an added boost. Or, it can lead to comparison. As a society, we have become experts of playing to the audience. We learn what gets liked, we know what gets ignored and we are aware of what grabs people’s attention. In the interest of popularity and visibility; it is obvious that the lives we see online are heavily ‘filtered’. It is difficult to compete with a ceaseless stream of the best, the biggest and the brightest. Moreover, it can prove a reminder of what we are missing out. Social media reminds and alerts us of places, people and things that we are missing out on. It can function very much like an advertising machine. True to the form, the drawbacks of these lives are eclipsed by the glamour of their moments in the sun. What can we do about it?

Obviously, hope is not lost. Slowly but surely, people have begun sharing glimpses of tough times. The pandemic has touched everyone and it is difficult to ignore this. Remember that there is always a life behind the screen. Every person you see on social media will have something that could be envied and something that could be pitied. Don’t try to run alongside their public profile! Consider how your time on social media is affecting you. Are you feeling drained, anxious, or helpless? Maybe, it’s time to catch up. Call up a good friend. Find time with your family. Look after yourself. After all, you’re not a faceless number drifting along the endless stream of online platforms- you are a person. You should treat yourself like such.

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