How can you stay engaged on social media but at the same time limit your news intake?

Take the time to review who you are following and why. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of information you encounter in your social media newsfeeds you can either “mute” accounts that post too much and dominate your feed or unfollow

Alongside this, you can add some trusted news sites that adhere to journalistic ethics and standards so that you ensure you are getting the most factual and up-to-date information from verifiable sources. 

Is there a “safe” amount of time to spend online reading news and on social media when it comes to your mental health?

The recommended amount is 30 minutes. This may seem quite a limited amount of time given how much we look to social media for entertainment, news, and staying connected. I would recommend people check in with themselves and notice when they begin to get bleary-eyed or anxious – note how much time is their own personal limit and set a timer when deciding to scroll as leisure time.

Other ways to help limit your intake are removing apps from your phone so that you have to actively sign in on a computer to access them – this will stop you from opening an app whenever you have a moment of downtime.

What are the best apps for staying engaged, but not getting overwhelmed?

This can be different for everyone. Some people have developed a supportive community network on Twitter while others find that to be an app full of negative news cycles and in-fighting. It all comes down to how you set up or “curate” your newsfeeds. This will help ensure you find the right balance for you.

Beyond that, signing up for different news media outlets you enjoy – say subscribing to the New York Times or Globe and Mail ensures you have access to just one trusted news source and you can open the app when you want and get caught up.

How can an individual contribute to a more positive online community?

There are two ways:

Ensure you enter into any online conversation with a commitment to respect and care. Do not dive into a debate if you are feeling strong emotions because it risks you being hurt as much as doing harm. Take a break, get some fresh air, drink some water. Decide if your desired response is helping or harming. Make sure you know the rules attached to each group or forum you belong to and adhere to them.

Don’t spread misinformation or heated exchanges with no resolution on your own social media feeds. The internet if full of counterproductive information and debates. Only share what you think is creating positive conversations and spaces to connect – that will help shape the kinds of online environments others see on their news feeds.

We encourage members of the campus community feel they need support to contact any of the following resources:

Counselling Services - 519-888-4567 ext. 32655
Here 24/7 - 1-844-437-3247
Health Services - Student Medical Clinic - 519-888-4096
Grand River Hospital - 519-749-4300
St. Mary's Hospital - 519-744-3311
Good2Talk - 1-866-925-5454
Crisis Services Canada - 1-833-456-4566 or by text 45645  

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