Notice what makes you feel bad.
Dawn Bounds — a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner who was a member of an American Psychological Association advisory board on social media and adolescent mental health — said she was intentional about the accounts she follows and the videos she watches.
She likes to follow the accounts of people who promote mental health and social justice, which “fill me up and inspire me,” said Dr. Bounds, an assistant professor at the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Bounds, who is Black, also likes content that makes her laugh, such as the account Black People and Pets on Instagram.
At the same time, she avoids videos that circulate online when the police shoot unarmed people, which can be traumatizing, she said. And with all of the trolls and bad actors online, she said, “I have no problem unfollowing, muting and blocking folks that I don’t want in my threads.”
“It’s really about curating the experience for yourself and not completely leaving it up to these algorithms, because these algorithms don’t necessarily have your best interests in mind,” Dr. Bounds said. “You are your best protector.”
Think about the Why, and whether it’s taking away from the rest of your life.
Your social media usage might be excessive if it is getting in the way of other activities like going outside, exercising, talking to family and friends and, perhaps most important, sleeping, said Jacqueline Nesi, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University.