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Category: Social Networking

The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

While social media is a bridge to greater connectivity and community, studies have often shown just how damaging it is for mental health. The rise in anxiety, depression and eating disorders have risen significantly and contributes to other negative feelings such as loneliness, jealousy and stress. Ultimately, reliance on social media had lead to people feeling more and more unhappy

Being active social media presents a number of challenges, such as online bullying, toxic comparisons and the increasing inability to socialize in the real world. Read on to learn more about the effects social media has on mental health.

Rise in depression and anxiety

A study by The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that the young adults who spent a lot of time on social media were more likely to report sleeping problems and symptoms of depression. Those who experienced cyberbullying on social media saw an increase in feelings of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Frequent social media users also have a tendency to make comparisons about physical appearances, vacations and successes, even though only the highlight reels are presented on social media. This leads to the belief that everyone else’s life is better or cooler than the user’s, when this is in fact a false reality. By placing their sense of worth based on how they are doing compared to others, they go down a social comparison spiral bound for depression and anxiety.

Negative body image

The need to get “likes” on social media for validation and approval leads the user to engage in risky and unhealthy behaviours, including altering their appearances, to gain more interaction on their social media. A study by the University of Pittsburgh found that those who spent more time on social media had 2.2 times greater risk of developing eating and body disorders. Women in particular have been proven to feel worse about themselves and more dissatisfied with their bodies when scrolling through the Instagram of someone they perceive to be more attractive than them. When toxic comparison leads to body dysmorphia, depression or anxiety, it is important to reach out to healthcare professionals or a licensed therapist and get help.

False sense of socialization

Though a user may have hundreds to thousands of friends or followers on social media, it can contribute to FOMO, or fear of missing out, when a user sees their friends attending events or parties that they didn’t get to go to. This leads to feelings of loneliness, anxiety and jealousy. Having a lot of online friends or followers does not make up for deep, connected and meaningful connections that are needed for a fulfilling and healthy life. Real human interaction is key to knowing how to communicate well, learning empathy and compassion and is vital to good mental health. However, more people are engaged with online personas than real people.

The upsides of social media

Young adults who have difficulty face-to-face socializing or finding acceptance within their social circles benefit from the fast, easy and non-threatening nature of social media. Those from the LGBTQ community or who struggle with mental illness have also motivation and friendships through online spaces. It is empowering for them to find like-minded people who encourage their progress and support them through challenges which they would otherwise face in isolation

One of the keys to good mental health in this modern, fast-paced world is balance. Social media can be good for you and even helpful, but so is real-life friendships and engaging in the present moment. We may not need to quit social media completely, but by using less social media and disconnecting in moments of real human connection, there may be a decrease feelings in depression and ironically, loneliness.

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Marie Miguel

Contributor

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with
mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Online Safety: Top Tips for Parents

Each generation of parents has something different to worry about — something that has changed since they were young. You might have had internet access when you were a teenager. It might have been an invaluable source when it came to tackling big homework projects, and you might have even made friends in the odd teen-friendly chat room. But, times have changed, and most of us look back glad that social media wasn’t a big deal when we were younger.

You might have had a Facebook page. But, the internet wasn’t like it is now. Nowadays, it’s a massive part of everyday lives. We’ve all heard horror stories about children and teenagers being bullied online and about the darker parts of the internet we’re all keen to avoid. As a parent today, the internet is one of our biggest concerns as our children grow. Even very young children have tablets and some level of internet access, which only grows as they do. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you to keep your family safe online.

Explore Together

Remember, it’s better that your children learn about the internet with you, instead of picking up bits and bobs here and there. When they are young, and first getting online, do it together. Show them some websites and apps that you think they’d enjoy and give them a little freedom to explore with you.

Put Safety Measures in Place

However much you trust your children, it’s never a good idea to let them out on the web alone without putting any safety measures in place. Set parental controls on younger children’s devices. Turn off in-app chat and location settings and use your own app to monitor their usage, these are inexpensive and widely available. For older kids, you might want to speak to them about setting their own safety and explain the importance of keeping some things private and hidden.

Talk About the Risks

You won’t want to tell very young children the worst horror stories out there. But, you can explain to slightly older children that the internet can be dangerous. You can tell them about people trying to contact them online and explain some of the risks. Tell them what they need to watch out for, and teach them how to report any suspicious activity.

Don’t Be Too Critical

If you are too critical, or too overprotective, it will become a secret. They’ll start to hide their internet usage from you. They’ll spend their time online behind closed doors. They won’t want to speak to you about it, and they won’t be comfortable coming to you if they are worried. Remember, children are curious, and that’s fine. Try to be understanding and supportive, even if you are worried or don’t approve.

Encourage them to Trust Their Instincts

Instinct is essential when it comes to safety. If someone started talking to you online, you’d get a feel for the situation straight away, and it’s essential that your children learn to do the same.

Chat With Them

Take an interest in their usage. Ask about games they play and the sites they use. Let them tell you about the things that they enjoy, and take an active interest, even if it means you have to listen to too many Minecraft tales. It’ll help to keep your relationship open and honest.

Social Media Trends To Be Watching For

Can you quite believe that another year has nearly been and gone? 2018 has been a bit of a whirlwind for a number of reasons, with all sorts of things going on around the world. So when you look back it, it can be easy to only look at those things that happened throughout the year that weren’t all that great. But in reality, there have been so many good things that have happened. One sector to look at in particular is the internet and things like social media channels. They have been changing and changing, and look very different to what we knew about them when they first started out. Naturally, they change and evolve to keep up with demand, as well as the technology that is available.

Gone are the days when social media was for just sharing memes; you can now stream live video, make short 15-second stories to view, and make your face into a dog at any given moment. Social media influencers are on the rise too, so the social media networks are finding ways to make sure that the content is able to stay relevant and can help influencers (because when they do well, the social channels do well too). But what is on the horizon for the year to come? What changes do we think we will see in social media over the next few weeks, months, and year? Here are some trends that are set to popular. Get to know them, so that you can make the most of them and use them to your (or your business’ advantage).

More Relevant Content

When social media content is irrelevant to the person scrolling through it, it can be very frustrating. When you think of it from a business or an influencer point of view, it can be very frustrating when their content is coming up to the right people or customers are having to wade through a whole heap of other stuff to see what you have to offer. Which is why targeted personalization is a growing trend for social media and online marketing and content marketing in general. Having the right kind of data to help them and their audiences will mean that content can be tailored, as well as the content reaching the exact audiences that they want to see.

Machine Learning

In a similar vein to what is mentioned above, sites like Facebook and Google could never write specific rules to choose the ads a particular social media user is most likely to click on. But that is where machine learning comes in. It helps to identify patterns in user behavior and determine which  advertisements are most likely to be relevant to which social media user. You could take a look here if you are interested in looking at more of machine learning, but it is something that is going to become more and more prevalent in our world, especially the digital world. Simply because machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence that means systems are able to automatically learn and improve from what has happened before.

Video Content

For a lot of people, they won’t have the time or inclination to sit down and read a lengthy blog post, unless it is something that they are really invested in. Which is where video content comes in. How many times have you seen video content, such as a cookie decorating video or a video of ‘hacks’ as you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed? Video content is really key and it does start to stop you in your tracks. The algorithms of many social channels have changed, and will continue to change, making video content more and more valuable. As well as conventional methods of creating video, you can do some off-the-cuff videos with things like IG-TV and Instagram stories. In fact, more and more users are using the Instagram video tools than the ‘original’ Snapchat video feature. So you can see just how quickly things change, and how they can grow and grow.

Influencer Marketing

You might have seen plenty of #ad disclosures or the ‘paid partnership with’ disclosures coming up on your social media feed over the past year. But the truth is, this is going to get bigger and bigger. Influencer marketing is something that is really new, but it is getting bigger and bigger. It hasn’t been something that has been trialled before it started, and now over 90% of companies that use influencer marketing strongly believe that it is successful for them. So it can be worth it to get an influencer on-board if you’re a brand, so be prepared to see plenty more of where that came from.

Publishing Content

You can share links on social media channels, and have been able to do that for a while now. But something that is becoming really novel is using social media channels for publishing content. Take the site LinkedIn, for example. Over the past year or so it has got busier and busier with users, and has become more and more popular to be used as a publishing outlet. You can see many companies, as well as individuals, using the platform to boost their marketing by sharing some inspiring, informative, or influential content.

Along similar lines, there are other social channels like Instagram that are making it easier for people to ‘swipe up’ to read articles or visit a website where something was bought from. This kind of feature is only available to a certain number at the moment, as you have to have over 10,000 followers, but could the future of it being allowed for everyone, no matter the number of followers? Social media and content marketing isn’t just about creating great stuff on your website. It is all about how it is shared and promoted on social channels as well now.

Do any of these trends interest you as we enter 2019? It would be good to hear what you think and what you preferred social channel is.

3 Ways That Social Media Helps Your Social Media Strategy

Marketing is the inseparable twin of business, and it is safe to say that you can never be a great business if you are to remove marketing from your strategic plan altogether.

However, someone who is in good in business does not necessarily equate to someone who is good in marketing. Marketing is not the strength of every business owner, and the demands of marketing are not exactly the easiest of tasks. That is why most business people opt to rely on third-party marketing companies to carry out their marketing needs, and the saved time and effort will be dedicated to other important tasks.

The most common and highly effective marketing strategy is through search engine optimization or SEO. A good business owner should know how to choose an SEO company that will give the business its much-needed marketing needs. The trend nowadays in engaging your preferred SEO company into social media strategy. Such a strategy can give your business a significant boost.

Below are some of the ways that social media can help your social media strategy.

1.  You get more bang for the buck.

The difference between social media and a dedicated website is that social media is a free platform. You don’t have to allocate your budget paying for a domain and hosting and a lot of website elements such as themes and plugins. Instead of this, most of your budget will be utilized purely for your needs in advertising, publicity, and promotion. For a much lesser cost as compared to other advertising mediums, especially traditional ones, you get to extend your sphere of influence. This translates to reaching more individuals, increasing your audience, and growing your business further. Social media platforms also offer the most cost-effective options and the lowest of costs in advertising features specifically designed to deliver your content across its network.

2.  The popularity is unbeatable.

Almost everyone you know is on social media. Your family is on them, as well as your neighbor, your friends, your business partners, the mailman delivering your mail, and the thousands of people you cross paths with every day of your life. Whenever someone sits in front of a computer and hits the web browser, you can almost be sure that he or she will go to a social media site within the first sixty seconds. Everyone has at least one social media app installed on their tablets and smartphones.

This popularity is being capitalized by businesses to deliver advertising content. Much more people will get to see the ads, and thus much more chances of potential clients and customers. It would also be a bonus if your audience themselves will share your content with their friends outside of your circle, which is basically free advertising.

3.  The algorithms do the work.

The under-the-hoods of our social media platforms are state-of-the-art, and we need not be reminded of their sophistication. When you post your content, those thousand lines of coding and advanced artificial intelligence will automatically determine the best audiences to push your ad through. Identifying your most likely clients and customers based on their likes, interests, personalities, and profile will be an automated process, and you don’t need to get a headache every time you think about whom to advertise to.

5 Reasons Social Media Helps SEO

Search engine optimization is a common marketing tool used by businesses to acquire a competitive advantage. It is an effective marketing strategy given the right expertise and adequate resources. You can opt to perform SEO for your company or hire a professional to do it. The use of social media as a marketing platform has increased over the years because most people are becoming conversant with it. Companies use social media as a fast and effective approach to create brand awareness and meet customers’ needs. You should consider social media when performing SEO for your company for the following reasons:

1.Building Brand Awareness

If you are wondering how to choose an SEO company you can trust to drive up your site’s ranking, go for the one that will strive to create awareness through facilitating the means to expose your brand by offering you a solid social media presence. It becomes easy for the user to get a list of the top ranked SEO companies on any search engine. Your target audience will be able to find you and engage through a series of questions. The search traffic of your brand on social media can help to increase the number of clicks and boost your brand awareness, which is essential for growth.

2.Social Media Platforms Are Search Engines Too

Initially, users would search for content on common search engines such as Bing and Google. This trend has shifted over the years with increased use of social media. Many companies are using social media to create awareness and attract customers. It becomes easy for users to research for company related content on any of these platforms. It is important for businesses to consider social media as a platform for SEO alongside the initial search engines.

3.Social Media Links And Clicks

Different social media platforms allow users to promote their business products under their provision for sponsored posts. Users pay a fee for their post to reach as many potential customers as possible. They will often provide a link that will redirect you to the initial business page. You get more traffic and lead with every click you get on your post. This is an SEO approach to market products on social media.

4.Ranking Connection Between Various Search Engines And Social Media Platforms

When a company’s content is ranked top in search engines such as Google, it is a good sign that it is doing well. Nowadays, when you search company’s profile on the common search engines, its social page such as Instagram is shown in the results. It indicates the relevance of social media influencing SEO.

5 .Increased Visibility

The primary goal for SEO marketing is to increase the visibility of a company’s content. Social media platforms are a good approach to ensure that your content reaches a wide coverage. Social media adds a drive to your SEO intent. You might not use the platform for promotional purposes through the sponsored posts, but the consistent provision of authentic content will increase visibility. You might not get to a high rank, but your followers are likely to share your information with others hence promoting growth.

Facebook, Privacy, and Staying Safe Online

Care about your privacy in the wake of all the Facebook news?

Switch to Mozilla Firefox as your main browser. It is now faster than Chrome or Internet Explorer, it uses less memory, and it goes a lot further to care for your privacy online and keep you safe. https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

Use Facebook in a restricted container to prevent it from tracking you when you are not on Facebook: https://blog.mozilla.org/fire…/facebook-container-extension/

Install the uBlock Origin add-on for Firefox to prevent trackers, ads (which are in and of themselves trackers), malware, and other nasties from harming you online. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-…/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/

Install EFF’s Privacy Badger add-on for Firefox to prevent even more tracking that uBlock doesn’t necessarily cover. https://addons.mozilla.org/…/firef…/addon/privacy-badger17/…

This setup will not only help you keep Facebook at arm’s length, it will help you in general to avoid malicious advertisements, malware, ransomware, and various types of web browser hijacking while surfing the Internet. Of course, you can always choose to leave Facebook altogether with these alternatives.

Enjoy, and stay safe!