Hands up who’s ever woken up in the night and immediately checked Instagram? Yep, us too, and we’re not alone, with one in five young people admitting to doing the same. It’s this shocking statistic and many other findings in a report called #StatusOfMind that’s prompted the British charity RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health) to create Scroll Free September, a one-month collective social media detox. “Whether it’s scrolling before bed stopping you sleeping, following aspirational and unattainable accounts denting your self-esteem, or the ever-presence of phones getting in the way of your face-to-face interactions with friends and family, Scroll Free September gives us all the opportunity to identify those negative elements and cut them out for good,” reveals Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive of RSPH.
Those of us getting separation anxiety from our smartphones at the thought of going without social media will be pleased to know that Scroll Free September offers five palatable plans to those taking part. The Busy Bee option bans you from using your accounts during office hours in a bid to boost your productivity. Those signing up as Night Owls can’t check their accounts after 6pm, and the Social Butterfly will have to forgo updating from events – were you even really there? Meanhile, Sleeping Dogs will have to give up nightime scrolling as social media is vetoed in the bedroom for improved quality of sleep, and for the hardcore, the Cold Turkey option means quitting all your social media platforms until the month’s end.
Shirley concludes, “It’s about taking a break and taking notice of the aspects that may be having a more negative impact on your wellbeing – of which we know there are many – and using that knowledge to establish a healthier, more balanced relationship with social media in the future.”
• For more information, and to sign up to Scroll Free September, visit rsph.co.uk
Photo: Jason Lloyd-Evans