Psychological Safety in Virtual Environments

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20 September 2023

Researcher and Writer: Tobey Calayo 
Reviewer: Azie Libanan
Editor: Kyra Ballesteros 
Moderator: Tobey Calayo
Graphic Artist: Jia Moral
In the virtual space, boundaries, time, and professional or social persona always come into play; recent years have proven that social networking sites can be a tool for productivity and connection, but they will not alienate you from virulent and unsafe environments for your mental well-being.

 

Browsing the web or social media is rewarding; however, Dr. Jacqueline Sperling states, “Even if you remove the likes, there continue to be opportunities for comparisons and feedback. People still can compare themselves to others, and people still can post comments [6].”

Even in X (Twitter), the past weeks have shown how some users can be unapologetically discourteous to others. An article written in Vantage Point [6] shares how different social media platforms can be detrimental to one’s mental wellness – included here are not only influencers whose content is damaging but also endless scrolling, which causes unproductivity. 

Some social media platforms can create a false sense of an ‘ideal and perfect life,’ where influencers will curate projections of their lives as content. These lead to negative impacts as users see esteem and ideal figures through the lens of well-curated and marketed influencers [6].

Social media also offers rewards, and while these rewards are often unpredictable, users seeking them risk the action for positive feedback and gain from the community [5]. Reviewing other people’s timelines also makes a comparison for the users of how well-lived or well-posted their lives are; FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, also comes into play [5].

We can take steps to ensure that we are in control of our social media lives and browsing experiences (SAFE):

  1. Security. Users must ensure that the people within their social media accounts are people they trust; this assures that only those who know them and whose behaviors and attitudes are comfortable to you will interact with their accounts and virtual identities since social media networking sites often recommend and suggests influencers based from patterns of likes and interests, having a social media timeline accessible only to your followers will ensure a comfortable browsing experience. 
  2. Avoid. Users should avoid specific topics or people on our social media platforms – including available tools, such as unfriending, muting, and unfollowing particular topics or people. 
  3. Frank. Users need to be direct and honest with social media usage, which means ensuring explicit and respectful language is used when communicating; this ensures that we also take part to attain a psychologically safe virtual environment for others.
  4. Ensure time management. Social media browsing can help us communicate and connect, and it has been integrated with almost all social facets of our lives; however, prolonged use of social media can cause unproductivity and higher possibilities of stress. Time management through apps and other activities helps us ensure psychological safety.

This September 20, 2023, during the #UsapTayo session, we will talk about maintaining a healthy online lifestyle. 

Session Questions: 

  1. What steps do you take to ensure that you are psychologically safe while browsing social-networking sites? 
  2. Drop your feel-good followings! Who or what topics do you follow to make your browsing experience productive? 
  3. What should people in authority (social networking companies, policy-makers, etc.) do to ensure a safe browsing experience? 

[1] Andrew Rawson, Training Industry

July 21, 2021

Creating Psychological Safety in a Virtual Environment 

https://trainingindustry.com/articles/strategy-alignment-and-planning/creating-psychological-safety-in-a-virtual-environment/ 

 

[2] Arielle Tschinkel, Hello Giggles

November 21, 2017

Here’s why you shouldn’t feel guilty about unfriending people on social media

https://hellogiggles.com/shouldnt-feel-guilty-unfriending-unfollowing-social-media/ 

 

[3] Stephen Spengler, The Journal

June 01, 2017

Tips toward a safe and positive social media experience 

https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/06/01/tips-toward-a-safe-and-positive-social-media-experience.aspx 

 

[4] Mental Health First Aid USA

2019

Three Ways to Use Social Media Positively 

https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2019/06/three-ways-to-use-social-media-positively/ 

 

[5] Mass General Brigham: McLean

2023

The Social Dilemma: Social Media and your Mental Health

https://www.mcleanhospital.org/essential/it-or-not-social-medias-affecting-your-mental-health 

 

[6] Vantage Point

No Date

Social Media Platforms that can Lead to Mental Health Issues

https://vantagepointrecovery.com/worst-social-media-platforms-for-mental-health/#:~:text=Twitter%20is%20bad%20for%20mental,to%20be%20liked%20and%20retweeted

 

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