Look after yourself

Social media can be a great way to connect with friends and keep up to date with what's happening, but it has its downsides too.

Internet addiction

Reading phone in bedDo you fall asleep in bed with your phone in your hand? Would you go on a holiday without Internet access? Do you know what motivates you to go online?

The Internet offers a wealth of procrastination opportunities but heavy reliance can become compulsive and even addictive.

Internet addiction means you’re spending so much time online that friendships, study, work commitments and even your health may suffer.

According to the Better Health Channel, Internet addiction is controversial: ‘Medical opinion is divided on whether Internet addiction exists as a mental disorder in its own right or whether it’s an expression of pre-existing mental disorders or behavioural problems.

‘For example, a person who compulsively trawls the Internet for online gambling venues may have a gambling problem rather than an Internet addiction’. 

Worried that you might be addicted to the Internet? Take The Center for Internet Addiction's self-assessment and find out.

Cyberbullies and trolls

Cyberbullying is repeated and targeted abuse using technological tools such as social media, texts or emails.

This can include hurtful messages or videos, excluding others online, nasty gossip and identity theft.

If you're feeling harassed and distressed as a victim of bullying, there is something you can do about it. Talk to someone you trust, or contact the Griffith University Counselling Service.

Be sure to block the bully, change your privacy settings and report inappropriate content to the relevant social media network.

Also, collect evidence of the bullying. Print or take a screen shot of all those nasty messages, posts, or photos. And remember, you didn’t ask for this. Nobody deserves to be bullied.

Trolling is slightly different. It’s when ‘a user anonymously abuses or intimidates others online for fun. They purposely post inflammatory statements, not as a way to bully or harass other people, but to watch the reactions’.

Trolls are fed by engagement and conversation. They can be found on website comments voicing an inflammatory or controversial view. Learn to ignore them. They are not here for debate - they're fishing for responses.

The same can be said in sharing or liking images or videos of real people being humiliated. Consider if you'd like that image to be of you. The very least you can do is not give the abuser an audience.