We cannot deny that social media plays a huge role in our lives more so during this pandemic. In the absence of face-to-face interaction, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter provide safe and convenient ways for us to connect with family, friends and even work colleagues. Social media updates us on the events in each other’s lives without having to initiate contact and ask “How are you?” Such information is freely shared and available through a mere tap of a finger.

But too much of a good thing may lead to problems. Though virtual interaction may be beneficial to our mental health during the pandemic, mindless scrolling of social media feeds can lead to sadness, loneliness and even exhaustion. Because mobility and activities are currently limited, such emotions may push us to simply pick up the smartphone and indulge in another round of scrolling. To better care for our mental health, we need to break this cycle.


What is social media detoxification? 

According to Itin Lachica-Umali, a Psychology professor at the Colegio De San Lorenzo, social media detox is a component of digital media detox. This involves refraining from or minimizing the use of television, and other “technology vices” in favor of face-to-face connection.

Though social media is convenient, the constant distraction it offers may keep us from processing our own experiences. Because the pandemic is unforeseen, Psychologist Roselle Teodosio, owner of IntegraVita Wellness Center, believes that we must be allowed to grieve. “There is an added pressure, most especially from social media, to make the most out of the situation, kind of like making lemonade out of lemons.  This can make people more frustrated with themselves, when they can’t seem to find their own “niche.” Also, people are afraid to show their fear, lest they be labeled as negative or a pessimist.  But it is actually okay to feel not okay, to admit that one feels fear, that one is afraid, that one cannot function well since there is really an uncertainty during this time.  It is also very natural to grieve. Grief would mean an end to something, not just death of a person.  It is an end to a friendship, an end to a relationship, an end to a dream and most of all, an end to a lifestyle, a life one had known.”   

Umali agrees that social media may push you to compare yourself with others. “This is the root of unhappiness,” she says. “We need to detoxify from social media so we can pause and process things in our own time.”   



When do you need a social media detox?

If you experience any of the of the following, you may need to take a break from your computer or phone:


Here are some steps for social media detox:


When you do a social media detox, you may observe these benefits:


According to Umali, the responsible use of social media begins with thinking before clicking. Carefully think about your comment before posting it. Will it harm other people? What does it say about you as a person? Whatever you put on social media reflects your values and beliefs. Be a responsible user—and this includes limiting your time on social media in order to be healthier.

Traffic jams, long passenger lines, crowded resorts, fully-booked hotels – these are the common scenes in the Philippines during the holidays, including Holy Week. Aside from the Christian practices of reflecting, repentance and Visita Iglesia, this is also the time of year Filipinos travel and reunite with family and friends.

Some of us opt to stay home, and find an effective outlet for emotions and self-expression through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For some people, updating statuses and sharing photos have become part of their daily routine. But before you bare your soul in cyberspace, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind.


1) Don’t post your itinerary details.
Where, when, how long and with whom? Criminals hungrily seek for answers to these questions. But because you have already provided them with details, it will be easier for them to plan their modus, targetting either you personally or the home you left behind.

Police Chief Inspector Jay Guillermo of the Philippine National Police also reminds us to always check the settings of our mobile phones when using messenger/chat. Sometimes, your location appears on the message you sent—
another bit of information criminals can use against you.

2) Be a wise uploader.
Guillermo also advises the public to refrain from posting photos of your current activity or location. It would be better if posting is done after the activity so criminals will not be able to monitor your movements. Regularly check and edit the privacy settings of your account.

3) Think before you click.
Before making a harsh comment online or posting a controversial photo, consider first the possible consequences of your actions. This rule also applies to clicking on random links found on social media sites. You might fall into the trap of scams and computer viruses if you’re not careful.

4) Conduct a background check.
We, Filipinos, are known for being friendly and hospitable. There’s nothing wrong with making new friends but in social media, we have to be cautious in entertaining requests. Before confirming their requests, always check their background profile. Look at their photos, personal information and even their posts. But if you really want to be safe, only approve those whom you know personally.

5) Be in the know.

As we plan our activities for the Lenten Season, it is always better to monitor updates on the weather, public announcements and current events. Taking a break is not all about the enjoyment, one must also be aware of what’s happening. Awareness is the initial key to survival and safety of an individual.

Source: Philippine National Police (PNP)