Social media can be a fun and useful tool, especially for new college students looking for a way to connect with the outside world. But for all its good qualities, social media is also filled with plenty of negative content that can affect your mental health. College can already be challenging enough without you having to interact with online accounts that bring down your mood.
You have a right unfollow any social media account that makes you feel upset, guilty or irritated — but you might not always realize how certain content affects you at first. Here are four types of social media accounts that you can unfollow guilt-free.
Accounts That Spread False Information
Social media platforms are often riddled with accounts that spread false information. The challenge is that some people do it unknowingly because they aren’t sure which sources are reliable.
It’s one thing if someone makes a mistake and shares or reposts something false — it happens. But accounts that regularly re-post incorrect information have little value to add to your day, or anyone else’s for that matter. You’re probably better off blocking them from your feed.
Accounts That Disrespect Your Beliefs or Identity
Whether someone’s demeaning your ideas, your sexuality, your appearance or your background, you should unfollow any social media accounts that shame you for being you. Exposing yourself to influences that make you feel bad can be discouraging, especially if you’re still trying to figure out your identity. It’s healthier to surround yourself with social media influences that spread acceptance and love and encourage you to feel confident in your value and capabilities.
Accounts That Use Scare Tactics
The media can be a mixed bag depending on which outlets you follow. Some may serve to help keep people informed, while others may use fear to manipulate and cause uproar. Unfollowing these accounts doesn’t mean turning to outlets that sugarcoat bad situations — but it does mean recognizing those that regularly make you feel sad, scared or angry about events that you may not be able to control.
Too much exposure to this type of content can harm your mental health. Instead, try finding media accounts that offer reasonable solutions to problems, or at least that stick to the facts.
Friends or Family Members Who Make You Unhappy
Whether it’s an ex, an old friend from high school or an uncle who has nothing nice to say, you have a right to unfollow anyone who stirs up unpleasant feelings when you read their posts or comments. If you’re unsure whether you should continue following a friend or family member, ask yourself:
- Do I get any value from reading their posts?
- Do I laugh or smile when I see them?
- Do I look forward to their messages or comments?
If none of these items are true, it might be time to hit “unfollow” and make room on your feed for other content.
Clean up your profile and unfollow these toxic accounts. Social media should be a positive environment for people to make connections and share interesting content. You can enhance your college experience by cleaning up your online presence and limiting your engagement to respectful, supportive posts.
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