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Living a healthy, happy online life

Living a healthy, happy online life

7 things to consider before you hit the share button

We are living in a new time – an age where many of our interactions are done virtually. For many, including myself, the transition to online life has been a challenge. I have found myself on social media more then ever before, interacting with others virtually, and even much of my free time is now spent on the web.

Quickly I have found that my new online life is in stark contrast to the much more balanced life I led previously, and I was sharing far more of my personal life digitally than I ever had before. These realizations have prompted me to find solutions that keep myself safe online and regain balance in my day-to-day life. Here are 7 solutions that have helped me to maintain control over my social media use and remain protected while online.

 

Selectively share

With the shift to doing much of our work virtually, it feels natural to share yourself fully, as you would in a face-to-face conversation. However, it remains important to keep your personal data secure. Digital communication platforms can be hacked, and my rule of thumb is don’t divulge anything online that you would be uncomfortable shouting out while riding a bus.

 

Consider before you post

When voicing your opinion online it can sometimes feel like your words are crystal clear. Nevertheless, your comments can be taken in many ways. Take extra time to consider alternative ways your comments can be construed and add effort to ensure your statements reflect your thoughts unmistakeably.

 

Keep it positive

It’s a hard time right now, for everyone, and a good way to support your community is to remain positive. It’s OK to feel frustrated and discouraged, and healthy to tell others how you are feeling. But, when we don’t recognize how we are feeling, our comments can become toxic to others. Before commenting, I check to see if my comments pass the 3-B test: Boost positivity, Build up other people and Better the community.

 

Be discrete about your location

Many social media platforms automatically share your live location with the world. This can potentially make you vulnerable. Fortunately, there is an easy fix. Simply turn off automatic share settings within the settings on your cellphone.

 

Compare versus encourage

Social media has an unmatched ability to expose the viewer to countless images and people. At its best it can inspire creativity and connections and at its worst it can undermine your self-worth. When using social media, try to remain conscious of what you are feeling. Do you find what you’re viewing encouraging or are you comparing what you see online to your own life? When you find yourself comparing, it is time to sign off social media and connect with a friend or family member over the phone.

 

Time for a reality break?

If you are finding your social media use to be taxing and detracting from your quality of life, take a break. Consider suspending your account for a week or month and monitor how you feel.

 

Reach out

Sometimes it’s good to have someone to talk to. If you are having a hard time, don’t hesitate to reach out. At Vancouver Island University we have safe, professional and confidential counselling services available. To book an appointment, simply call 250.740.6416. Services are available Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 4 pm. If you are experiencing a crisis, you can reach out to the following services: Vancouver Island Crisis Line via phone at 1‑888-494-3888 (24/7), text or chat at 250.800.3806 (6 am – 1 pm); KUU-US Crisis Line at 1.800.588.8717 (24/7); and YouthInBC.com online chat (12 pm – 1 am).

 

This new digital world can be overwhelming, but with these few tips for success I hope you can stay connected safely. Happy (web) surfing from all of us at VIU Outdoor Recreation.

 

As an Outdoor Recreation Technician with VIU since 2013, Gregg Cormie shares the beauty of Vancouver Island with students through a diverse range of adventure activities. Gregg has a Bachelor of Arts in Sport, Health and Physical Education from VIU and a Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication from Royal Roads University.