24 March 2020
Active use of social media will be a lifeline for people coping with social isolation during the Covid-19 crisis, says the British Psychological Society’s Cyberpsychology section.
Expert cyberpsychologist Dr Lisa Orchard has shared tips on how to get the most out of social media during the Covid-19 outbreak.
She says that interacting with other people is hugely important for our wellbeing, so social distancing and isolation will be tremendously difficult for many.
“While there can be dangers in social media, it’s going to play a vital role in helping people stay connected.
Research suggests active social media use is better for you than passive use, so consider writing a blog or posting status updates as a way of expressing yourself.
It may help to organise virtual meet-ups with friends and family, perhaps for group activities like watching films or cooking together.”
Useful tips for using social media during Covid-19 include:
Take the time to look at how you are using social media
if you are overwhelmed by the news it may be a good idea to limit how long you spend online.
Be critical of what you see and post
The volume of discussion of Covid-19 makes it hard to find accurate information. Fake news can be difficult to spot – it’s best to follow verified official accounts to ensure information is accurate.
Be on the alert for cybercrime
Crime rates often rise in times of crisis and recent news reports suggest the Covid-19 crisis is seeing an increase in cybercrime. The uncertainty and the way we have become isolated may make us more vulnerable. The National Cyber Security Centre has a wealth of resources to help you be on your guard.
Use hashtags and follow wisely
If you find your newsfeed is dominated by discussions of Covid-19, follow hashtags related to your hobbies or interests as a distraction. Hashtags and groups can be used to find people with similar interests, which helps to combat isolation.
Look for the positives
Social media often gets a bad name, but it can promote acts of altruism. You may find it helpful to seek out more positive content to balance negative stories.