What am I consuming today?

Access to internet today ensures access to unlimited content. This content can be a source of inspiration and creativity . It can provide us with a sense of community – particularly when using social media platforms. It can bring a sense of relief to scroll through different posts and videos, laugh at all the hilarious memes out there, particularly when we feel low. And in these challenging times, it may have helped us feel a little less alone and to respond to boredom.


However, there are two sides to every coin. Not everything out there is heart-warming and positive. Have you found yourself feeling low after going through content that brings in bad news one after another? Or even found yourself annoyed witnessing two strangers arguing in the comment section of a post? Or maybe, what you have posted has attracted unwelcome, unkind comments. Or were you the person reacting in anger to another’s post? Even when we are not actively engaging with others, random Doomscrolling through our feed can make it hard to shut down and depending on what we consume online, may influence how we feel and bring in a sense of sadness, helplessness, guilt and even envy.


Over-The Top (OTT) platforms is another space which provides a wide variety of content with easy access. Binge-watching a favourite series or having a movie marathon to unwind or switch off is not uncommon anymore. In fact, a growing concern during this digital era is what researchers have termed Revenge Bedtime Procrastination. You might have heard that tiny little voice in your head saying “just 5 more minutes”, “just one more episode” before you go to bed. Sometimes that 5 minutes turns to 10, then 20 minutes and so on and you might end up watching more than just one episode before you realise it’s 2:00am and you have lost out on hours of sleep and a routine. In other words, this behaviour leads to postponing sleep to get in a few more minutes or sometimes even hours of screen time or any activity that you might enjoy that you were not able to insert into your day.

While this may seem gratifying momentarily (make us feel good in the moment) do we realize that it has an impact on our mental health and our body in ways that we might not even be aware of? Not just in terms of loss of sleep and rest but the very content we consume can make us experience a range of emotions including fear, anger, rejection, shame and confusion.
So, why does this happen? What makes us relate to a character, with real emotion? Why do we cry when our favourite character dies, or when a well-loved onscreen couple’s relationship ends? Why is it that our hearts beat a little faster and we feel a twinge of fear when the eerie score comes on while watching a horror movie?
Mirror neurons play a very interesting role here. They play a key role in empathy, helping us emotionally connect with people by observing and imitating their emotions and behaviour, be it in real time or virtually. This impact, though subtle, can have a lasting impact on us including our physical, social and mental health.

We must be mindful of the content we consume on a daily basis and the impact it has on us.



How am I feeling when I view this kind of content?


Is the content resonating with me?


If not, then what exactly am I feeling?


If my feed or the content I am viewing does not align with what I want to feel, can I block, unfollow or avoid certain content?


Tell us, how do you keep your social media consumption in check?

What is your idea of a 'social media break'?

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