It’s no secret that social media is a part of everyday life for a lot of us, with teenagers and young adults being among the most voracious users. According to a Roy Morgan research, 88% of teen Australian internet users go online more than once a day. But is that necessarily a good thing? Are young people doing social media the right way?

If we look at the numbers in the survey, the most popular time for teenagers and young adults to go online is between 5 and 10pm – i.e. after school/uni/work.  However, 37% of those surveyed also start their day by checking social media within 15 minutes of waking up and 53% finish their day with it by going back online 15 minutes before bed. Another 37% of respondents have a habit of checking their timeline in the presence of others, with yet another 24% staying online when eating every meal. Overall, 1 in 4 young Australians are constantly connected.

Teenagers also strengthen ties with friends and loved ones online, with 84% of survey respondents claiming the use of social media helped them build upon their relationships. With staying ‘in the loop’, 82% of Aussies felt included or connected to like-minded people through participating in online forums and sharing content. And when it comes to gaining a sense of empowerment or seeking help, 72% consulted with other social media users.

Don’t lose sleep over social media

While those in the 18-65 demographic average 2.1 hours per day on social media, the 13-17 year olds are way ahead of them, notching up a total of 2.7 hours per day. It’s unsurprising, then, that 60% of teens experience a “brain burnout” from their social connectivity, with 57% also finding it difficult to sleep or relax after being on social media. Overall, 45% of Aussies use a phone or a tablet in bed before sleep, while 30% don’t put their phone on ‘silent’ before bed.

We suggest getting off Facebook/Twitter at least 1 hour before sleep. Go back to the old-school ways of winding down that don’t involve social media such as listening to music or reading a book.  When you’re about to head to bed, put your mobile phone on a ‘do not disturb’ setting and ensure it’s set up to allow emergency calls from family members to get through.

#FOMO

Ah, the fear of missing out; the feeling of knowing about something exciting and interesting happening without us. This feeling makes us want to stay constantly connected on social media.

Young adults who connect more than 5 times per day are much more likely to experience FOMO that those who spend less time on social media. Overall, 1 in 2 young Aussies experience FOMO. But what we all need to remember is the world doesn’t stop turning if you don’t jump on Facebook.

Don’t miss out on the good things in life

If you’ve made new friends through online social channels, great! But you can make your connections even stronger if you meet them in person. The key to building strong real-life relationships with people you’ve met on social media is spending time together in the real world.

Keep in mind that social media is also a guide for you to find fun and fulfilling activities outside of your online life. Read up and find the activities you love. Remember, the world is your oyster!

Top 10 ways of doing social media right

  1. Be supportive to your friends and family online and in the real world, and expand your social circles to those who give you a positive influence.
  2. Keep your real and online lives separate.
  3. Don’t create an idealised version of yourself on social media.
  4. ‘Disconnect’ before bed.
  5. Apply the ‘stranger danger’ rule to friend requests.
  6. Think before you share something.
  7. Remember: just because it’s on social media, doesn’t always mean it’s true.
  8. Also, the world doesn’t stop turning if you miss something on social media.
  9. Ask for help if you’re stressed, worried or in trouble online. Communication is key!
  10. And lastly, live your own life! Distinguish your life from someone else’s ‘timeline’ and try to avoid the feeling of FOMO.