Simply Psych Logo

Connect With Us





Mindful Media is all about reintegrating mental health into our modern lifestyle, and we’ve got some tips to help you discover how the summer break offers a great opportunity to do just that. Social media is synonymous with overreaching advertising. From a business perspective, it’s an extremely efficient marketing tool. But from the mental health standpoint, social media has morphed into a behemoth of toxic addiction that causes depression and anxiety. So where is the middle ground in all of this?

In 2022, there were over 4.59 billion (that’s billion with a B) social media users worldwide, yet 33% of adults reported experiencing loneliness. Studies expect there to be 4.89 billion (yes, billion with a B) social media users worldwide in 2023, which is about a 6.5% increase from last year. Social media is not a human connection; it’s a tool to get eyeballs. And the goal of big companies pulling the strings is for those nearly five billion sets of eyeballs to stay glued to screens and focused on spending resources (money, time, energy) on specifically targeted merchandise, goods, and services. 

Spending on social media advertising surpassed $226 billion (again, that’s billion with a B) in 2022. In a recent survey, 59% of Americans reported being influenced by social media to make a purchase, and a daunting 45% reported having gone into debt to purchase something they saw on social media. It appears the schemes are working, but to the detriment of people.

Even some of the mental health ecosystem has succumbed to the prospect of financial gain in social media apps. Recent headlines have exposed therapy apps like Cerebral, Headway, BetterHelp, and Talkspace for various breaches in legal regulations and compliance standards. The use of data from some of these tech startups has been collected and sold to social media platforms and marketing conglomerates, leading to targeted ads directed towards the app users. 

We call on mental health ecosystem leaders to step up and ensure privacy and safety are paramount when using apps. And they shouldn’t stop there; we must be more mindful of these apps’ effects. Otherwise, the outcome is dire: social media will continue to dominate our minds and resources, spreading misinformation and disinformation, and targeting people to go into debt.

Of high concern, the youth of our modern technology-dependent world are growing up in an unprecedented time where social media is ingrained into our lives. Recently, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued a warning that social media poses a threat to kids’ mental health, escalating calls for new safeguards aimed at minors.

Back-to-school season is the perfect time for mindful media. Kids and teens in America are spending more time than ever on screens and social media, which has proven to be detrimental to their mental health and relationships. Mindful media is the solution.

A 2022 study from Common Sense Media revealed that the time kids spent online rose sharply during the pandemic. The overall screen use among teens and tweens grew more rapidly from 2019 to 2021 than it did the four years prior. On average, daily screen use went up to five hours and 33 minutes among kids ages 8 to 12, and to eight hours and 39 minutes among 13 to 18 year olds. 

Research shows that media overuse causes anxious and depressive symptoms in kids and adults. New research backs up the 2022 study, where they found that family intervention plans focused on both reducing parent stress and family screen time use may aid in improving children’s mental health.

This year, two-thirds of parents said they were most worried about children’s increased time on devices, including screen time and social media use. This is extremely important to acknowledge and address as media habits are immensely impactful on mental health. And that goes for all people – kids, parents, and teachers alike.

Granted, the sharp increase in media use in kids during the pandemic has a lot to do with recurring quarantines and more frequent use of online-platforms for both education and social interaction. But if this is the milestone American kids are experiencing now, incorporating a mindful methodology to electronics becomes critical. Kids are already facing a looming mental health crisis. Let’s set them up to thrive. 

With 35% of teenagers reported using social media “almost constantly” in 2022, there’s plenty of room to start building more mindful habits. The sooner the better, too, as the mental health crisis is affecting youth at such an intense scale. Different situations call for different measures to be taken, but there are some general guidelines that will help.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has offered a great health advisory on social media use in adolescence. It addresses cyberbullying, self-image, sleep and physical activity, privacy, and general online usage and social media literacy. This is a powerful and applicable resource to review with your family this back-to-school season.

The biggest tip to combat the negative effects of social media is by limiting its use. The average person spent 147 minutes on social media per day in 2022, which is the highest it’s ever been. But breaks from social media have been proven to improve well-being and decrease depression and anxiety. Incorporating consistent time away from screens boosts our mental health. 

No matter how you use social media, remember what is so enticing about the concept in the first place: connection. The digital, scripted, polished versions of interactions and relationships found on apps cannot provide what real, face-to-face communication can offer. It can serve a purpose and be part of the bigger picture, but as you integrate mental health more into your life, mindful media is a make-or-break piece of the puzzle. 

We hate social media. So follow us. 😎 We are invested in integrating mental health into all aspects of life, including on social media. We call it Mindful Media, and there must be more of it thrown into the mix of all the rest. The world will continue to utilize social media, so the time to push for healthier habits and uplifting edutainment is now. #MindfulMedia

    Find us wherever you are.