Between politics, ongoing civil unrest, and the COVID pandemic, some days it’s hard to avoid doomscrolling -- when you just can’t stop looking at social media even if it’s upsetting to you.
Consumer Reports has some tips on preserving your mental health during these challenging times.
You actually have some control over what kinds of posts you see on social media. It isn’t about blocking out the world and pretending that nothing wrong is happening. It’s about taking control and deciding when you want to interact with different kinds of content on your own terms.
On its website, CR provides detailed instructions for filtering hate speech, hoaxes, and violence out of your social media feeds.
For example, you can unfollow someone, or even “snooze” them for a 30-day break by clicking on the three dots at the top right of their post. Or you can click “hide post” so Facebook learns what kind of content you don’t want to see. And using those same three dots, you can also report abusive content or spam.
Twitter and Instagram have menus on the top right that allow you to do some of the same things.
A psychologist that CR spoke to said this is a very important step for people to take to limit the sorts of things they’re interacting with online, sort of a balm for your mental health.
Although social media companies have policies to curb hate speech and misinformation, consumers say they’re still seeing it. And this is why it’s important for you to make sure you’re not being exposed to things on the internet that you don’t want to see.
CR says another way to avoid social posts that may get your blood boiling is to sort your feed chronologically instead of how the algorithm thinks it’s most likely to get your attention.
For a link to all of CR’s instructions for customizing your social media accounts, visit consumerreports.org.