THE TOXIC SIDE OF SO­CIAL ME­DIA

Computer Arts - - Special Report -

So­cial me­dia can be both a pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive fac­tor to de­sign­ers fac­ing men­tal health chal­lenges, de­signer Sara Lopez be­lieves. “It’s a bad in­flu­ence on our well­be­ing when it cre­ates un­nec­es­sary ex­pec­ta­tions of liv­ing other lives and be­ing a dif­fer­ent per­son,” she says. “Par­tic­u­larly, when it makes you feel you are con­stantly be­hind or miss­ing some­thing. Ide­alised lives and bod­ies clearly lack hon­esty, be­ing based on fake ap­pear­ances where things feel spon­ta­neous or nat­u­ral but are ac­tu­ally metic­u­lously carved.”

There are pos­i­tives too, of course. “It’s such a great tool for con­nect­ing with oth­ers you would not oth­er­wise be able to,” she says. “What are the chances you’d oth­er­wise meet peo­ple with sim­i­lar in­ter­ests from dif­fer­ent parts of the world? It can be an amaz­ing place to build con­nec­tions, find hob­bies, or even start a busi­ness. From an en­tre­pre­neur­ial point of view, it can be very pos­i­tive too, but it’s still able to gen­er­ate anx­i­ety when you com­pare your­self to oth­ers, spend too much time en­gag­ing with tech­nol­ogy and for­get to con­nect in the real world.” If you fear that so­cial me­dia is drag­ging you down, do some­thing about it. “We’re bom­barded with peo­ple’s non­sen­si­cal thoughts, but there’s no law to say we have to be in­volved with them,” says Brand Nu CEO Radim Malinic. “Af­ter my break­down, I deleted the so­cial me­dia apps from my phone, and the jump in mood you would not be­lieve. It takes a cou­ple of weeks be­fore you stop look­ing at your phone. And then sud­denly, you feel lib­er­ated.”

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