‘Scroll Free September’ is yet another alliterative month-long challenge forwarded by a charity to help improve your life by giving up an addictive vice. The aim of the campaign is for social media addicts to give up or at the very least cut down on their social media use in an aim to improve overall health. The challenge has been forwarded by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) whose studies suggest that overconsumption of social media has a negative impact on mental as well as physical health. So, if you do choose to have a digital detox, what health benefits might you experience?
One of the most obvious and the greatest benefit is an improvement of mental health. Studies have shown that social media can have a negative impact on users’ self-esteem as they are bombarded with images of photoshopped models on Instagram and friends’ exemplary lives on Facebook. This perfect perception of life is, of course, unobtainable and being constantly subjected to these ideals increases levels of anxiety and depression.
The aim of the campaign is for social media addicts to give up or at the very least cut down on their social media use in an aim to improve overall health
Countless research has been carried out to evaluate whether social media has a link to increased levels of childhood depression. Shirley Cramer, the chief executive of RSPH, suggests that “social media has become a space in which we form and build relationships, shape self-identity, express ourselves and learn about the world around us; it is intrinsically linked to mental health.” Therefore, logging off media platforms that project inaccurate perceptions of reality should increase overall satisfaction with ourselves, and the lives we lead.
Another benefit of logging off is reconnecting with friends and family in person, rather than through likes. The studies carried out by RSPH found that a break from looking at our phones forces us to communicate in person. This is beneficial for our mental health as humans are intrinsically social creatures and communication in person is essential to overall well-being. We can all name a situation where an entire group of people have been on their phones scrolling, rather than interacting with one another. A time out from our phones could act as a well-needed reconnection with our friends and family.
We can all name a situation where an entire group of people have been on their phones scrolling, rather than interacting with one another
Finally, for those who struggle to get enough sleep at night, ‘Scroll Free September’ is said to improve sleep quality, as well as the time it takes to fall asleep at night. You may already be aware that screens emit a ‘blue-light’ that interferes with melatonin in the body – this is the hormone essential for regulating sleep! Not only will you sleep better, sacrificing social media will ensure you go to bed on time without losing hours accidentally stalking your cousins’ best friend.
Giving up social media may seem a very daunting task, especially considering statistics suggesting that adults on average spend up to eight hours absorbed in a digital world. However, with the extra time earned from abstaining from social media, you can spend extra time doing more productive things such as exercising, interacting with friends or engaging in hobbies. However, if you find the idea of going cold turkey from Twitter an impossibility, simply reducing the amount of time you check your phone will result in benefits to your mental and physical health. So, what’s stopping you? Give ‘Scroll Free September’ a go!