Thompson: Cultivating social media can be good for mental health

Madison Thompson

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Humans are consuming more content than ever before. According to Nielsen Total Audience Report, adults spend more than half their day consuming content on various devices, like live television, surfing the web on their phone, using tablets or using a streaming device.


We should pay more attention to who we follow and what we allow on our feed. You can’t control what someone posts, but you can control what you find acceptable to let into your consciousness.

According to the National Center for Health Research, 78% of 18-24-year-olds use Snapchat, 71% use Instagram and 68% use Facebook. In addition, 94% of 18-24-year-olds use YouTube and 45% use Twitter.

People are spending more time on social media than ever before. We would be foolish to think it doesn’t have a profound effect on our mental state and how we view the world.

A study by the Pew Research Center found that social media had a profound effect on an individual’s stress levels. With finals fast approaching, it’s in your best interest to be more aware of the content you allow on your social media.

In several instances, social media use is tied to mental health problems. In March 2018, PR Week reported that more than one-third of Generation Z from a survey of 1,000 individuals stated that they were quitting social media for good, as 41% stated that social media platforms make them feel anxious, sad or depressed.

Why do we follow people whose profiles make us anxious, sad and depressed? What if you only followed people who lift you up instead of bringing you down?

Cultivating the content on your social media means being intentional about whose posts you allow on your feed.

For instance, self-deprecating humor is a staple in millennial and Gen Z culture. If you’re following accounts that promote this type of rhetoric, you’ll continue to internalize, normalize and perpetuate it.

The content you allow on your feed should fuel and inspire you, not leave you drained. It’s okay to follow someone and then decide their content doesn’t resonate with you.

Sometimes unfollowing someone might not be enough. Blocking can be interpreted as a mean or spiteful act, but you have complete control over what you allow on your feed. People whose content doesn’t support your mental well-being are not necessary.


This doesn’t mean you have to drop off of social media for good, but limiting its use in general can be beneficial.

Social media isn’t inherently bad, but it is powerful. It can mold the way our mind filters reality, and it can make you feel inadequate when your own life doesn’t measure up to those you see online.

There will always be people and accounts that make you feel insecure or like you’re missing out on something. The key is to recognize that feeling of discomfort and ask yourself if letting this person pop up on your feed, uninvited, is worth the hassle.

Madison Thompson can be reached at or online @madisongoeswest.