We all love our phones. Even those who use them minimally are still thankful for the convenience to have a gadget that connects you to your friends with just one click. It’s easy not to miss out on events and life milestones when you’re always online. However, it’s the idea of always being online that might also prove detrimental–especially if you don’t know which apps to stick to.
The Fear of Missing Out:
FOMO is a condition experienced by many when they are not on their phones. They think someone somewhere is having a good time, and they could have been part of it if only they saw a tweet or post on time. For many, this is enough justification to install every app they see. Their friends on Facebook may invite them to an event, their followers on Twitter might be talking about the latest trends, and their Instagram mutual might have just gone live. There’s little thought put to how all these apps use up your phone’s memory, which may result in slower device performance. Soon, you’re looking for someone offering used phones and refurbishing to have a functional phone again.
Exposure to Triggering Content:
Being online may be detrimental to your mental health if you’re using the wrong apps. Some apps have safety measures in place to keep triggering content at arm’s length. Tumblr, for instance, allows you to turn on safe mode. There are also extensions that let you do more, such as blocking certain posts from appearing on your dashboard or muting certain tags. This helps you take control of your dashboard, limiting the potentially triggering content you see.
Twitter also allows for blocking or muting of accounts or words that you do not want to see on your timeline. Other apps, unfortunately, do not have these safeguards in place. You could log in for a couple of minutes and suffer hours of anxiety because of a post you had no choice but to see.
The Stress of Bad News:
It’s good to be updated on what’s happening around you. Awareness results in good things if you use the new information to better yourself and your community. Unfortunately, there are several fake news sites running rampant on your favorite apps, and they may be adding to your stress. Though they might be presenting false information, this does not undo the negative effect they have on you.
Constant exposure to these negative headlines, and being involved in devolving discussions in forums and the comments section will not be of any help either. They will only serve to foster the fear, hatred, and worry–even amplifying them until you can no longer function without automatically feeling defensive.
Being connected to your friends all the time does not sound like a bad thing. However, when you have apps that do not protect you from potentially triggering or stressful content, your disposition in life may be changing to adapt to what you’re exposed to. And you might not realize it until it’s too late.