Scroll Away

bvimarinacay

One thing you need when you live on an island is a reliable way to stay connected. Sure, most of us are pretty good at checking in with our co-workers and neighbors, but what about all those friends and relations in far away places? That’s what the internet is for!

Indeed, I feel very blessed when I hear about unlucky island dwellers of not-so-long ago, for example, the North American transplant who was so homesick and had just enough to drink one night that he thought it would be a good idea to borrow the company phone to make a massively expensive long-distance phone call.

Nope, we lucky folks of today can fire up one of any number of social media sites and scroll through our feed or sit back and watch the latest stories to see what our peeps all around the world are up to.

But, and I can’t be the only one who falls into this trap, how do we know when we’ve had enough? A quick check can keep you informed, but did you know researchers are finding more and more evidence that too much scrolling, rather than helping us feel connected, actually causes most people to feel isolated?

Take the way people often use their Twitter pages to vent their problems. Everyone needs an outlet, but it’s stressful for us as readers to take in so much negativity all at once. One Pew Research Center study showed that more time reading people’s tweets is correlated with a higher stress level. Other studies have pointed to links between social media use and anxiety, feelings of envy, a reduced amount of sleep, and, for women and girls, reduced self-esteem.

On second thought, maybe I’ll log off the internet a little early this week and make an old-fashioned long-distance phone call!

A version of this post firs appeared in the Feb, 7, 2019 edition of the Limin Times.

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