Our Internet (Part Three - Mental Health)

Written by Erin LaVaux

What if your friends make you sad?

Does reading comments 50% of the time make you feel bad about yourself or down? Do you suffer from anxiety, depression or loneliness? There's a chance the internet is contributing.

There was a time when things were different...

Many kids and even adults, aren't aware that the internet has been around since the 1960's, back then it was used strictly by the military and later by tech companies, colleges, universities and libraries. Check out Part One (Internet History) here:

https://www.magicstoryland.com/post/do-you-feel-hated-online-part-one

Trolls and Haters didn't even exist. The Internet's focus used to be technology, military and education. But sometime in the late 90's, the focus shifted to entertainment and embraced a culture of anonymity and hate.  Check out Part Two (Trolls) here:

https://www.magicstoryland.com/post/our-internet-part-two-trolls

Do they hate you?

Why does being online seem like a double-edged sword? Both bringing you joy and bringing you down? The answer is inadequacy, perpetuating meanness and overabundance.

 

Your friends post to Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook and other apps and sites. You love the pictures. You giggle over the videos. You LOL at the memes and vines. But...

 

When you post something, you panic. No likes. No hearts. No comments.

You tell your best friend you're performing at school and ask that they come watch. You're super nervous and could really use your best friend's support. He / she says they're busy and the next day you see posts of your friend with someone else, being silly, taking photos - seemingly having the time of their lives.

You were so wracked with anxiety backstage last night before your performance, that you felt sick to your stomach. Now you feel depressed. How could your friend ditch you like that? What does the other friend have that you don't?

 

You want to ask why... but you're afraid of the answer. Maybe you're just not good enough, you wonder. You spend the entire day, avoiding others and feeling down, irritable even. Maybe you try to brush it off, pretend you didn't notice or weren't bothered by it.

Or you notice other kids get so many likes, comments and shares but yours go unnoticed. You try filters, more posts, maybe even extreme challenges. But nothing. You feel invisible and can't understand why. But you are not alone!

"The internet is so vast. That without it, in our normal lifetimes, we would never have experienced interactions with so many people in such a short length of time." -Erin LaVaux

Prior to the internet, a typical child's day would have been school and playtime, dinner with family, maybe a movie or game and then bed. But today your phone, tablet or computer commandeers much of your time, even into the night. You're short of sleep, short of family time, short of face-to-face interactions with the important people in your life, short of vitamin D from being outside which helps our moods.

 

The internet is NOT a bad place. But just like anything, there are risks. If you eat a donut, it's delicious! But if you eat too many, it will make you sluggish, sick and miserable. Every good thing in moderation.

 

Most teenagers (and parents) can attest that even too much family time can make a person crazy. Too much of anything can be a bad thing.

Which is why it is so important to have a healthy balance in your life for everything you do! Not just donuts and internet (and family 😆🤣 ) but everything.

And remember, that when you don't get those likes, loves, hearts, emojis, texts, replies, comments, shares, etc -

You are still valuable.  
You are still amazing!

You are the only YOU that will ever exist on this planet or in history! Celebrate your differences, your quirks, your silence, your outbursts, your joy, your sadness. Because you are unique and God made.

It's normal to feel anxious and sad sometimes but if you feel this way a lot, pay attention to what you are doing. Ask yourself if your activity, peer group or hobbies are healthy, does it make your soul happy, is it in moderation? And if it's not - change it. Because on top of being amazing and unique, you are STRONG.

 

If you need help, ask a loved one or trusted friend. If that doesn't help or you don't have anyone, you can reach out to us. The founder of MagicStoryLand.Com is a church Compassionate Services Coordinator and a 9 year Veteran Girl Scout Leader.

You are incredible. Remember that.

Additionally -

If You Know Someone in Crisis

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).

 

Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential.

 

Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency. Learn more on the Lifeline’s website or the Crisis Text Line’s website.  https://www.crisistextline.org/