The new bid to stop the negative mental health impacts of social media
The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPC) has issued a warning in a new campaign designed to get people to cut down on Social Media.
The new bid to stop the negative mental health impacts caused by devices will be within a new campaign called ‘Scroll Free September’ which will highlight the negative effects of social media.
Previous research has found that social media is linked to anxiety and depression, poor sleep and body images issues.
The’scroll free’ September campaign, similar to anti-smoking campaigns, will urge people to abandon social networks for a month.
The DM reports: It follows similar campaigns like ‘Dry January’, which aims to break people’s habits around alcohol by challenging them to stay sober from the month, and smoking-free ‘Stoptober’, which is held in October each year.
New statistics revealed women are more likely than men to take part in Scroll Free September which involves giving up the ‘Big 5’ social media apps – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube.
In Britain, 12 percent of people who have heard about the campaign (which equates to around 300,000 people) are expected to participate.
‘When used in the right way, social media can have a lot of real positives for mental health and well-being, including improving social connectivity and providing a source of emotional support,’ Shirley Cramer CBE, RSPH chief executive told Sky News.
‘The issue is actually as important as, and in fact in young people, maybe more important, than some of the other public health issues.’
The Rotal Society for Public Health announced that three times more women than men were expected to participate.
This is because social media makes them feel particularly inadequae and they are also more likely to have been trolled.
RSPH spokesperson Ed Morrow told the Telegraph; ‘Image-heavy social media platforms like Instagram can be a particularly toxic environment for young women who are often left with feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem from the barrage of images of unattainable body image ideals that tend to flood such platforms.
‘This is a problem that has been fuelled by TV and magazines for years, but social media makes it all the more inescapable,’ he said.
Polling for RSPH suggests two thirds of people would be perfectly willing to stop using social media but for many peer pressure and the fear of missing out means they continue.
Previous research has found social media use is linked to heightened feelings of anxiety and depression, poor sleep and body images issues.
Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national director for mental health, said: ‘We need to see concerted action, with everyone taking responsibility, including social media giants, so the NHS is not left to pick up the pieces of a mental health epidemic in the next generation.’
Ms Cramer said: ‘Scroll Free September offers us all the opportunity to take back control of our relationship with social media, whether you choose to go cold turkey, or just abstain at social events.
‘The aim is that by the end of the month, we will be able to reflect back on what we missed, what we didn’t, and what we got to enjoy instead.
‘That knowledge could help us build a healthier, more balanced relationship with social media.
‘We know this will be a challenge because of the addictive nature of social media technology, which is why we need to work closely with the Government and the social media industry to create an online environment that is more conducive to positive mental health and wellbeing.’