November 23, 2021

Making Social Media a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Space

In today’s digital world, the things we engage with, scroll through, and share on our pages have a lot of influence on ourselves and others. Recent research shows that with just 150 likes, Facebook’s algorithm knows you better than your immediate family members. With this in mind, it’s so important to make high-character decisions when choosing what we like, share, and post. 

Many people don’t realize that what we see on social media is a reflection of what we interact with online – not just on social media. Our social accounts start to show us people, products, and ideas based on what we interact with on social media, as well as our browsing and purchasing habits across the internet. 

Imagine that you’re active on social media. Maybe you’re a student. Whatever you engage with will transform what you see on your feeds. It’s easy to get stuck seeing and being influenced by negative, or possibly dangerous content…before you even realize what is happening. How can we manage our social accounts and find inspiring and positive influences?

Using The Facebook Algorithm for Good

Social media provides a unique opportunity to connect with and influence other users across the world. A few ways to better enable positivity in our online communities include seeking out positive media, sharing credible news sources, and finding impressive influencers. According to HuffPost, social media users are much more likely to share stories that evoke positive emotions than negative ones. Sharing positive posts is a great way to make social feeds more positive for yourself and your followers.

Identifying Positive Influences

At The Social Institute, one of our Seven Social Standards is Finding Your Influencers. This means finding influencers online that help to empower one another, reduce stress, and inspire positivity. The accounts that we follow matter and affect the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. For starters, the Mental Health First Aid organization recommends unfollowing accounts that leave you feeling bad or even neutral. Instead, seek out empowering accounts that bring you joy or make you feel good! Role models can look different for everyone, but some examples include professional athletes, mental health activists, and body-positive accounts.

The Power of The Like Button

In a 2019 study, researchers found that the ‘like button’ is often accompanied by stress and anxiety (especially when it comes to the number of likes or comments from followers). Some apps, like VSCO, hide all public likes, comments, and followers. This helps to encourage a focus solely on the content and creativity of what is posted. Alleviating burdensome social pressures, VSCO offers a safe space and creative outlet for users to focus on expressing their true selves. According to the VP of communications, VSCO strives to be a platform where users can portray how they see the world, not how they want the world to see them. 

For many students, social media is a huge part of their social lives and will continue to be. So finding healthy ways to navigate and balance it are crucial. It is important for students to remember that not everything they see while scrolling on social media is an accurate depiction of real life. Our actions online have power, so we should always choose to Use Our Mic For Good!

About The Social Institute

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, families, and educators to positively navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology. Schools access our student-respected, turnkey curriculum through, an interactive, gamified learning platform. With solutions for students, parents, and educators, we offer a systemic and comprehensive SEL program through a unique and positive approach. We are proud to serve public and independent partners such as Ravenscroft School, Woodward Academy, Oldfields School, All Saints Episcopal School, Lake Forest School District, Boston Public Schools, and more. For more information on how to empower your students to make high-character decisions online and off, please contact us.