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Re: Slow-mo GR: Social Media, 29th June- 5th July

Hi everyone!

Here's the question of the day:
Have you ever had a negative experience on social media, such as cyberbullying? How did you handle this?

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Re: Slow-mo GR: Social Media, 29th June- 5th July

1. What are some of the positives that you've experienced when using social media? What can you do on social media that can help improve your mental health? It makes it easier to keep a line of communication open with people you don't see often. It can help you learn more about other perspectives out there (people share about things that are deeper and important to them sometimes). It helped me learn I was autistic by following autistic pages, and feel connected to this community through the pages and a group. It can enhance real life relationships (like my gardening group has a Facebook group and we post garden questions/victories between meetings there). It gives you a less intense way to contact someone you've recently met (I wouldn't usually ask someone I've met a couple of times for a phone number or email, but am pretty happy sending them a friend request, it seems less intrusive but can help broaden your friendship beyond that initial context). It can be mildly enjoyable/interesting 😛 

2. On the flipside, what are some of the negatives that you've experienced when using social media? How can social media negatively affect our mental health? Too many comparisons (I can't help but care a bit about how many likes my status or profile pic gets); everyone sharing just the highlights/an edited version of their life making the connection less authentic; people bullying or pressuring others through social media; contributing to the expectation someone should always be reachable; how easy it is for widely spreading misinformation or harmful views.

3. Have you ever set boundaries on your use of social media? For example, choosing not to follow certain accounts, limiting the time you are online, or not posting when you are in a negative headspace etc. How did this impact your life and wellbeing? Back when I was in high school I spent a fair bit of time chatting through instant messaging on social media to connect with friends, then as an adult I found my responsibilities and opportunities expanding and didn't really want those conversations as part of my life any more (I didn't have the time or energy). So I started always appearing offline to everyone so they wouldn't expect real time conversations through social media with me. It works for me (I hate the 'seen' function though). I regularly go through my friend's list and delete people I don't really know or need to have on social media. One of my friends posts a lot of politically charged content. I think it's important stuff to think about that helps me learn and grow, but it was filling up my whole news feed and I'm not always in a good mind frame for it. So I've unfollowed that friend from my need feed, but regularly go to their profile to read it when I am in a space to be able to think about it all properly. I've blocked people who were harassing me. I report inappropriate content. I hide adds I don't want to see.

4. Have you ever had a negative experience on social media, such as cyberbullying? How did you handle this? I was in an abusive friendship at one point (involving a lot of manipulation, gaslighting, some violence, invading privacy, lying to and about me, keeping constant tabs on me). Those dynamics were at play in person and through social media/other technology. When I eventually needed to end the friendship it involved blocking them on social media.

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Re: Slow-mo GR: Social Media, 29th June- 5th July

4. Have you ever had a negative experience on social media, such as cyberbullying? How did you handle this?
@hellofriend  Like you, I have sometimes ended up having to block people from contacting me on social media. Recently, I've been trying a strategy where I first tell them how I feel about their behaviour, and then if they continue I warn them that I'm going to end the conversation. Then if they continue harassing me, I block and possibly report them to the website. Sometimes, it can be awkward when people tell me to do something that I don't want to do, like disclosing my identity, sending a picture of myself, or opening a suspicious link. I just tell them why I don't feel comfortable doing that. Usually, they understand or stop messaging me.
In the past, I used to go to my mum for support when people said mean things to me online.
I've mentioned this on ReachOut before, but many years ago, a friend looked at and memorised the password of one of my paid online accounts while he was at my house then went back to his house and logged into my account and pretended to be online. I changed the password and confronted him about it, but he never apologised or admitted to it (it could only have been him), so I ended up ending the friendship. It was sad that someone I provided and did so much for took advantage of my hospitality like that.
This didn't happen to me, but I also know someone who was the target of a defamation/hate campaign and threats online. It was really scary for them and they ended up taking legal action.

Here are some websites you can report cyberbullying to:
ReportCyber 
eSafety Commissioner 

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Re: Slow-mo GR: Social Media, 29th June- 5th July

It's Friday! And time for the last set of questions for this GR! Smiley Very Happy Heart

 

What are some ways we can connect with others and care for ourselves when we need to take a break from social media? Do you have any tips for using social media in a way that feels balanced for you? Heart

 

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We had a live chat on Accessing Mental Health Support Online! Smiley Very Happy Check it out here! Heart
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Re: Slow-mo GR: Social Media, 29th June- 5th July

What are some ways we can connect with others and care for ourselves when we need to take a break from social media? Do you have any tips for using social media in a way that feels balanced for you?
In the past, I've written letters to people. It's so nice when you receive a card or letter from someone. It just feels so much personal than receiving a generic email or quick message. I can also say much more in a phone call or a letter than I can online. With letters, I can also express myself visually with drawings, stickers and photos.
I like to schedule time to do offline things, such as writing some notes and thoughts down rather than posting them online or using an app. Sometimes, scheduling an offline alternative can really help. I used to play a lot of online games, but I've found that I'm a lot happier when playing offline games because there is a lot less pressure on you to be constantly available to do things with other players as a group. I've cancelled all my subscriptions to online gaming services and will only re-activate them when I have more time to play online games. I still play games with friends and family but I feel that I can do so on my own terms as opposed to how I was playing them before.
Something that has also helped me is thinking about what else I can do with my time if I'm not constantly focused on social media. There tend to be more positives than negatives.
I know there are also some apps such as Forest that can help with reducing the time you spend on your phone, but I haven't tried them.