• 61% of consumers are doing more to monitor their own screen time.
  • 72% of consumers have begun to unfollow certain people and accounts altogether.
  • 66% of people have started to hide social media posts from people with differing views.

Type “social media” in the Google search bar and you’ll see words like “questions beliefs”, “leads to depression” and “who are you really engaging with.” In fact, per Google Trends, queries like “social media harms your mental health” and “social media seriously harms your mental health” have risen in the last 12 months, by +5,000% and +4,000% respectively.

It’s hardly surprising that topical headlines have centred on the dangers of screen time – especially to the minds of children.

Interested in the debate, OnBuy.com analysed a report by Mindshare entitled Trends 2019, which holds quantitative research from more than 6,000 consumers aged 18+ across the UK, plus social and search insights to help define themes.

OnBuy discovered the recent questioning of social media is mirrored in a change in consumer behaviour.

In 2019, 66% of consumers are sharing less about their lives on social media. Alternately, 58% of consumers are doing more to monitor someone else’s screen time (children, for example.) Further analysis revealed 59% of respondents find the prospect of social media companies running courses to educate children about how to use tech responsibly appealing.

An additional 61% of consumers are doing more to monitor their own screen time, with 51% of 18-34-year-olds proclaiming they would welcome pop-up messages on social media warning about excessive usage.

Some consumers have taken a stance on digital dieting one step further.

66% have started to hide social media posts from people with views differing from their own, while 72% have begun to unfollow certain people and accounts altogether. Proving today, British consumers have little to no patience for social media content that makes them feel negative, depressed or uncertain.

Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com, exclusively comments:

“Our dependence on digital platforms has left many with anxiety. It can make us feel distrustful – and rightly so. We know how easily data can be manipulated, how insidious fake news can be. At the same time, technology is beginning to lose its mystique.

Take GDPR for example.  Perhaps, for the first time, we feel more informed and aware. As a result, consumers are taking ownership of their data and social media pages are a great place to start. This is reflected in the data we have analysed; we are sharing less, monitoring usage and managing what we do and do not see.

But, while it’s important to implement social safeguards, we can’t lose sight of the fact social media can be a fantastic tool for business and pleasure, when used appropriately and with care. Our focus should be on management and control; not banishment.”

Bearing this in mind, OnBuy has written 4 simple, easy-to-apply tips to help you make smart social choices at home!

  1. Give Each Platform Purpose

Recognise each platform has its purpose, its own strengths and weaknesses. Train your brain to identify social media as a task with an end goal – not a mindless scroll. For example, Facebook is great to catch up with friends. Twitter is a tool that makes reading the latest headlines easy. Instagram is perfect for documenting and sourcing inspiration. Once you have agreed on what you need from your time on social media, stick to it!

  1. Be Selective

Sometimes, upon login, it can feel like social overload. There are endless red icons; notifications, messages, DMs, likes, shares and retweets – the list goes on! Don’t feel pressure to respond to everything right there and then. Be selective about what you respond to. It may also help to break it down. On Monday, take on messages from mates. On Tuesday, respond to post notifications and likes, and so on.

  1. Set a Limit

Before you boot up your device, set a time limit in your mind. Maybe 30-60 minutes if all you’re doing is catching up with social media. Naturally, it will be a longer limit if you are working. That being said, it’s crucial to take regular breaks, even when you are working! Make a point of leaving your desk when you take a break, to prevent mindless scrolling on socials, and take time to move, stretch and replenish energy.

  1. Don’t Make it Easy!

The key to making smart social choices is, don’t make it easy! Take steps such as deleting social media apps, placing devices on silent/airplane mode, or turning off app notifications altogether. On your desktop, try a newsfeed blocker. You could even limit where you keep your devices at home e.g. no devices in the bedroom. Social media shouldn’t be considered a necessity, so don’t make it one. If your access is limited, and remains so, it should, over time, become a limited part of your life.