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Category: Tech

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.

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Ways to Make Your Working Day More Efficient

Are you tired of lagging behind and not getting the amount of work done that you had expected to get done at the start of the day? It’s a common issue but not everyone suffers from it. You need to learn from the habits and working techniques of people who manage to stay efficient and on track every day of the week. Here are some of the ways in which they achieve efficiency.

Create a Structured Schedule

It’s important to have some sort of structured schedule in place so that you can stick to what needs to be done and not end up wasting time on things that aren’t as important. The schedule will guide you throughout the way and provide you with a quick way of noticing when you’ve started to lag behind. You can then immediately get back on track and back to work.

Use Dictation Software

One thing that many people find is that they’re able to talk much faster than they type. That’s pretty normal for most people; so why not make the most of that fact and start using dictation software? It could help you to get work done much faster than ever before. Head to a site like fusionnarrate.com to find out more about it and then decide whether you would benefit.

Stop Multitasking All the Time

Efficiency is pretty hard to achieve if you’re insisting upon multitasking all the time. It’s never a good way to get things done because you actually end up wasting time rather than preserving it more often than not.  So instead, just aim to get things done one thing at a time and don’t worry about doing multiple things at once. It’s never an efficient way to approach work.

Learn to Delegate if Possible

If you work in a management position or you run a small business, you should avoid falling into the trap of wanting to do everything yourself. Instead, you should learn to delegate in an effective way. People who delegate tasks are able to focus on the important things that they need to do themselves, freeing up time and allowing them to produce work of a higher standard.

Block Out Distractions

Lastly, you should do whatever you can to block out distractions in the workplace. That could mean finding a working area that’s quite and away from people who you know might distract you. Or you could block certain websites on your browser so you’re not tempted to visit them and procrastinate during the day. It’s a good way of staying focused on the things that really matter and not losing track of time on websites not related to your work.

If you want to be more efficient while working each day, these are the sorts of things you should be focusing on and trying to get right. Each of the points made above will make it possible for you to work in a more efficient way and get more done each day at the office, so make the most of them.

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How To Boost Website Conversions

Having an attractive looking website that is visible on search engines is what we all aim for, but this does not always mean that conversion levels are high. The main goal is always to turn traffic into consumers. Below, we have put together some top tips to help you do so.

Get rid of any distractions on your website

One thing that could be turning potential customers away is too many distractions. Website navigation should be simple and easy. Only include elements that are necessary. Less is more, as they say.

Make sure your website is optimized for mobile use

Nowadays, a huge proportion of people use their smartphone to access the Internet. You need to make sure your website has been optimized for this platform. Have you ever went onto a site using your smartphone to discover that the layout was all muddled up and all elements seem squashed? This is because the website has not been optimized for mobile use. You need to make sure it can be viewed and used on all devices.

Recommend related products

One way to keep your users’ interest and encourage sales is to recommend products or services that they may be interested in. You can do this by showing your most popular products, or by using data, such as what that client has bought before or searched for before. Companies like PRWD can help you in terms of acquiring the data you need to optimise your website effectively.

Include a call to action (CTA) and make sure it is compelling

Do you have a call to action on your website? This is something that makes your customers take action, i.e. join your newsletter or make a purchase. It is crucial to ensure that your CTA is enticing if you are to secure new customers.

Simplify any forms on your website

No one wants to spend ten minutes filling out a form to join a website or make a purchase. It is important to ensure forms are as simple and straightforward as possible. A good website builder will enable you to do this. Only make users input information that is essential; don’t waste their time with anything that is not needed.

Offer numerous payment options

Last but not least, make sure you give your customers a good selection of payment options to choose from. Believe it or not, not everyone has PayPal nor does everyone want to use it. By having a variety of payment methods, including all major credit and debit cards, you can satisfy all demands.

If you follow the tips above, you can make sure you improve your conversion rates!

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Are You Doing Enough To Protect Your Business Bubble? Online Security Essentials

Forbes estimates that the global cost of cybercrime will top $21 trillion by the year 2021. We tend to hear all about high-profile data breaches that affect giant, multinational corporations, but the reality is that every modern business is now vulnerable. If you have a website, you deal with online data, you use cloud systems or servers, or your staff spends hours every day tapping away at a computer keyboard, there’s every chance that you could fall foul to a cyber attack. If you’re keen to protect your business bubble, here are some security essentials to bear in mind.

Invest in robust security systems

If cybercrime hasn’t been a priority for you in the past, you might find that an audit of your security systems flags up areas of concern. If you haven’t got robust systems and modern software in place, it’s wise to invest in tightening up security and reducing the risk of breaches. If you’re not au fait with Internet security, enlist the help of an IT firm that specializes in this area. They will be able to take a look at the programs and technology you use and provide recommendations to increase protection levels.

Take care with remote working

An ever-growing number of businesses is offering flexible working arrangements, which often involves providing employees with remote access to platforms, programs, and software used in the office. If your employees work from home, or they’re out in the field, and you have systems and features in place like Microsoft remote desktop, ensure that your security measures cover the parameters of working on the go and accessing files and programs from multiple locations. Another issue to be mindful of is the BYOD, or bring your own device, trend. If you do allow employees to bring their own laptops or tablets to the office, make sure everyone is familiar with your security policies, encrypt data, and ensure the network is secured.

Provide training

In the grand scheme of things, cybercrime is a relatively new threat to businesses, and not everyone is familiar with preventative measures they can employ to lower the risk of attacks. Provide your staff with training to help them understand the importance of security and enable them to spot potential signs of abnormal activity. Enforce up to date policies and procedures, and arrange for an expert to talk to your staff about these documents and explain how they can apply them to their day to day work life.

Consider outsourcing IT support

If you don’t have an in-house IT department, it’s worth considering outsourcing IT support and system management. If you work with a firm, they will be able to secure your systems and minimize the risk of downtime, as well as providing advice about how you could improve efficiency and productivity and cut costs.

Every business owner should be mindful of the potential impact of security breaches. If you haven’t given too much thought to online security in the past, now is the time to upgrade your security systems, seek expert advice and ensure your staff is familiar with potential cybercrime warning signs.

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Making More Of Your IT Budget

IT is already playing a huge role in helping businesses run more cost-effectively than ever. Being able to carry out processes faster and without error, relying less and less on paper, and being able to hold video conferences as opposed to having to pay for transport and a hotel are just some examples of that. However, as your business’s reliance on IT grows, so too can the costs. Here, we’re going to look at how to get more out of your IT budget by getting a little more frugal with it.

Take it to the Cloud

One way to better spend your money is to think about how exactly your business is acquiring the software that it uses. While many businesses are still buying licenses to download software, or having it built for them, others are moving a new model that may be more cost-effective. Cloud software can cost a lot less because the client, user, or business doesn’t have to deal with the costs of maintaining, fixing, or updating the software as it’s all handled on the user’s side. What’s more, Cloud software opens up the possibility for implementing remote working in the business, as it can be used on any device with the right authorization, allow you to save by having less need for your office space, too.

Know your costs before you plunge in

One of the ways that businesses can often get in trouble with the costs of their tech services is that they don’t factor exactly how much it will cost in the long-run. Even if you can manage the costs of growing your IT systems, it can force you to reallocate funds and assets that could be better spent elsewhere in the business. However, some services are now offering IT cost benchmarking to help you be able to get a more precise grasp of how that growing presence of tech is going to affect your budget. Make sure you do your math before you agree to any new service or software installation.

Identify the ROI

When you have figured out how much your IT plans are going to cost you, you then to work out just how worthwhile it all is. Finding the return on investment for tech services, solutions, and software/hardware isn’t always easy but one of the best ways is to look at how it will save you time and money. If you are able to quantify an estimate of how much more efficient you can be, or what costs you can reduce, you can look at those numbers against the long-term costs of the IT. If you’re unable to identify a return on investment, it may be worth considering whether or not the current plans are the right ones for you or if there is another solution that might be worth more.

Hire your IT team the right way

As your tech grows, so too will the responsibilities of maintaining it, fixing it, and overseeing its growth. An IT team is going to be essential, often sooner rather than later. However, if your tech needs are still relatively small and you don’t think you could justify paying the full price of a full-time employee who doesn’t have enough work on their plate to fill a full-time role, you may instead want to look at other ways of hiring. Outsourcing your IT support can be much more cost-effective for the immediate future. As your reliance on tech continues to grow and you have a bigger network or more devices to oversee, you might want to switch to in-house eventually.

You don’t always have to pay

When you’re implementing new tech plans in the business, it’s always easy to fall into the temptation of pouring as much money into improving all your current processes and systems as possible. However, it’s not only worth identifying those investments worth making but also the investments that aren’t worth it, as well. While software improving your core work processes might be a worthwhile investment, there are some processes that might not be as important that could instead benefit from the use of free software. While there is something of a quality dip in most free software, it can still help you manage your admin much more efficiently, like free accounting software.

A keen understanding of the costs involved in implementing new tech, whether it be software, hardware, networking, or new services is crucial. Once you implement that IT in your business, it can become crucial to its survival so you can’t afford to lose it because you can’t pay for it anymore.

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The Most Common Causes Of Data Loss

Losing important data can be frustrating – almost all of us have experienced it before whether it’s a personal photo or a work document. For businesses data loss can have devastating effects, possibly inconveniencing clients and negatively impacting your company’s reputation. Whilst this data can sometimes be recovered, it often isn’t easy to retrieve it. Here are some of the most common causes of data loss and how you can avoid them.

Viruses/malware

Viruses and malware may corrupt data. Cybercriminals may even steal files or hold them hostage – threatening to delete them unless a ransom is paid (commonly known as ransomware). Small businesses that are not digitally secured enough can often fall victim to this type of data loss. The best way to defend against this threat is to improve your cyber and data security. This could include using firewalls that scan emails and websites for malicious content before opening them, encrypting files and having strong passwords.

Accidentally deleting files

Human error can also result in data loss. Files may get accidentally deleted whilst moving documents from one folder to another. When it comes to touchscreen devices, failing to lock these devices when in your pocket may also result in photos or contacts accidentally being deleted. You can’t always prevent human error, however you can prevent this data being lost forever by having it backed up somewhere – this could include backing it up on the cloud or using an external hard drive.

Hardware damage

Damage to hardware can also result in data loss. This could be the result of accidentally spilling coffee on a laptop or a natural disaster such as a fire or even vandalism. Whilst you can prevent this damage by treating your devices with care, for those times when damage is unpreventable, you’re best off simply having data backed up. The cloud is the safest place to back up files – whilst you can use external hard drives and USBs, these will often deteriorate over time (if you’ve got a flashdrive that’s over eight years old, you may want to transfer some of the files elsewhere as these devices don’t last forever).

Software failure

Sometimes software can fail and result in data loss. This can be the result of all manner of faults from not cleaning up your computer to not running important updates. Software may even get corrupted from hardware damage. By keeping your computer well maintained you can often prevent this type of data loss.

Computer theft

Old-fashioned burglary is still a leading cause of data loss. By securing your devices and backing up files, you can usually prevent this. Businesses should consider physical security measures such as burglar alarms and CCTV to deter thieves. Keeping devices locked with passwords can also prevent thieves being able to access files even after obtaining your machine – modern computers are now using facial recognition which is harder to crack than a password.

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