This year the Australian Psychological Society’s annual National Psychology Week has focused on maintaining mental health in our ever changing digital world.
Studies have shown on average we spend approximately 5.5 hours on digital media, with over 2 hours on social media alone and look at our phones over 220 times each and every day. Young people are even more likely to be connected with up to 25% constantly connected to some form of social media throughout their day.
Internet addiction has become a real mental health problem including the use of social media, not just gaming, gambling, and pornography. Internet gaming addiction is now officially recognised as a mental health condition requiring appropriate psychological intervention.
Interestingly the medium designed to advance our communication has ended up making our lives less connected and individuals are now more socially isolated than before.
The internet is filled with many psychological tricks to keep us connected and many individuals live out their fantasy lives in the comfort and convenience of their own homes.
Anyone can be whoever they want to be, however this has its consequences. Many individuals experience significant levels of stress and heightened depression symptoms as a result of social comparisons to others lives being seen as more successful, fun and exciting.
The APS recommends 8 tips for thriving in the digital age
1. Check less - turn off notifications and limit when you check to certain times of the day
2. Post positively - Create positive environments online for yourself and others
3. Be proactive - Connect with others who boost your wellbeing not harm it
4. Block the bullies - be selective in who you connect with online
5. Keep perspective - don’t compete, remember people only post what they want you to see
6. Take a break - balance work and life, turn off notifications if not working on call
7. Guard your sleep - reduce use of technology before bed
8. Connect offline - re-engage with the world on a face to face basis, including nature
About the author
Brooke Seydler is an endorsed Clinical Psychologist a at St John of God Richmond Hospital, she is also an AHPRA accredited supervisor. She has experience in the assessment and treatment of individuals coping with depression, anxiety, grief and loss, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances, and addictions in both one to one and group settings. Brooke has worked as a contractor for the Department of Defence for the past 10 years and has extensive experience working with Veterans, ex serving and currently serving Defence members, and emergency service personnel. Over the past 7 years Brooke has worked at St John of God Richmond Hospital in both the inpatient and outpatient treatment services for individuals with PTSD and their families. Brooke is an associate member of the Australian Psychological Society and a member of the Australian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.