Social media, smart phones, computers, and other technologies are staples of modern living in the United States. Doing school work, connecting with friends, and staying up-to-date on the news are all tasks heavily reliant on access to technology. The effects of so much screen time can vary depending on the individual, the primary purpose for using technology, and time spent online versus connecting in person. Overall, one key indicator of the effects of screen time on you personally might be how you feel afterward.
Technology provides each one of us the opportunity to connect with others who share our interests, live far away, or who have similar experiences or identities. These advantages of technology can help develop social connections and friendships if you have a hard time making friends in person, are introverted or shy or lonely, or don’t live in a place that has many social opportunities.
One consideration is to maintain a balance between online connections and in-person friendships. Another consideration is to check in with yourself to determine the mental health effects screen time has on you individually. You may find that a continual stream of news, frequent comparisons of yourself to others, and X make you feel worse about yourself or make you feel less happy in general. If you find that you are spending more time in front of a screen and less time doing other activities that you enjoy, you might want to re-prioritize your time for your own well-being. Easy-to-access technology and online platforms open up exposure to cyberbullying and other harmful content.
If your use of technology and social media have brought up negative emotions or mental health concerns, a psychologist may be able to help through individual therapy.