Spider-Man: No Way Home star Tom Holland announced that he is stepping back from social media for his own mental health. It's the latest example of Hollywood elites taking a break, and it refocuses the spotlight on the negative effects that the internet and social can have on wellness.
Holland revealed in an Instagram post that the overstimulation from mindless scrolling and the numerous comments about his personal life began to take a toll on him. He joins a long list of celebrities who have taken breaks from social media in order to protect their mental health, like model Chrissy Teigen, singer Demi Lovato, and singer Shawn Mendes, who not only struggled with social media but also recently postponed his world tour.
The Social Media Struggle
It's a conversation that has been dissected, taken apart, and reconstructed many times, but is worth repeating as many people, especially young internet users, continue to face issues. Amy Morin, the editor-in-chief of Verywell Mind and licensed psychotherapist, told Cheddar News that internet and social media addiction often stems from the desire to escape.
"There's not a clear start and a clear end like a TV show, a song, [or] a movie — we know when it starts and when it ends. When it comes to the internet, it's endless, and we often do it mindlessly," she said. "Since we tend to have our phones with us all the time, it becomes a great and easy tool to manage uncomfortable feelings."
Mental health issues can balloon when people compare their own lives to what they see on the internet.
Recognizing and Addressing Mental Health
Social media addiction is something to be mindful of, said Morin.
"We know it's true of all addictions. It's not necessarily the amount of time that you spend. It's sort of the amount of problems it causes in your life. So, if it causes social problems, and you're spending time on Instagram looking at people's photos instead of living your life, or you're connecting with people artificially on Twitter, but you're not interacting with people in person, then it's probably causing some social problems for you," she told Cheddar News.
When internet and social media use affect professional productivity and health, it is a clear sign of a problem, but it can be addressed.
However, unlike cigarettes or illicit drugs, it can be difficult to completely cut out phone or internet use, as the devices have become essential parts of daily life. Doing little things like charging a phone to only 50 percent might force users to conserve the battery, which could deter extensive social media use.
"Sometimes it's about putting a barrier in place," Morin told Cheddar News. "And then make it easier to do other things. So maybe in the morning, have a newspaper handy instead of your phone if you do enjoy reading the news while you're drinking your coffee. Set yourself up for establishing some different habits."