How recent current events have completely altered our social media habits

Social media habits of Americans are changing, according to a new study.

From the coronavirus pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement and politics sprinkled in-between, a new survey found that Americans are thinking twice about how they use social media and consume information. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center commissioned a poll of 2,000 Americans finding that more participants said their social media habits have changed within the last year due to tensions in the current climate.

More than half of Americans (56%) said the current events happening right now caused them to make a change in how they consume social media.

The change in habits goes two ways. Around a third (29%) said their social media use has increased in an effort to keep up with the ongoing developments in the world, but about a quarter of respondents said they needed to take breaks because it was too much.

“Stepping away and reconnecting with reality offline is an important step to take for your mental health,” Ken Yeager, Ph.D., director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience Program at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said in a press release. “Being constantly immersed in this stressful environment and being overexposed to contentious or traumatic events can make you feel like the world is a less safe place to be. And because these stressors have persisted over a long period of time, it’s wearing on people’s ability to cope with that stress.”

Yeager said it’s important to realize what on social media affects you and how to limit exposure to it. The study listed several tips on how to curb your social media addiction:

  • Reconnect with family and friends — Unplug for a bit like at night. Make plans with those in your life, whether virtually or in person.
  • Volunteer — Food bank, park cleanup, or just helping around the neighborhood. A little care around the block can go a long way.
  • Encourage change — Voting helps, but so does using your voice to invoke issues that are important to you.
  • Talk — Talking to family members about issues can help you “understand where they’re coming from,” according to the study.