Ask Jigsaw:Scrolling for Coronavirus information | Advice for Young People

Ask Jigsaw: Scrolling for Coronavirus information

I am finding it really difficult to stop scrolling on my phone cos I need information about what’s going on. I want to take a break, but I don’t want to miss out on any updates. Plus I want to stay in touch with my friends, but that can be drama too. Some of them are freaking out and some just think the whole thing is a joke and are going out anyway. I don’t know whether to just turn my phone off altogether or how do I limit it?

-Starfish

Set yourself a limit of checking the news from a trusted site once or twice daily.

Laura, Jigsaw Clinician

Hello Starfish,

A lot of young people joining the Jigsaw online group chat are also noticing a change in what they’re seeing on their phone, and how it’s affecting them. There is a direct link between the time we spend online and our mental health.

It’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to cope, or to use our phones, during Covid-19. Just noticing how the news and social media make us feel is a good place to start.

The news is constantly changing and, because it directly impacts us, we can feel pressure to stay informed. There are millions of news streams with live updates available 24/7. Keeping up-to date is simply impossible. If we give ourselves this expectation, it’s understandable that we will feel anxious.

It might be useful to set yourself a limit of checking the news from a trusted site, like RTE news, once or twice daily. Have a think about potential challenges to sticking to this limit. For example, when we are bored, scrolling on our phones is pretty tempting. Deleting news apps/ twitter, or unfollowing news sites on Insta, even for an hour or two, could help. You could always replace these with apps that can help you to feel calmer.

 

We have the option to mute chats that aren’t making us feel good, while still being able to pick up the phone and call a friend.

Laura, Jigsaw Clinician

We are social creatures and our phones can be a lifeline to connecting with others. As you have mentioned, many Whatsapp chats are filled with Covid 19 talk and that has the potential to make us feel angry, scared or upset. We can’t control how others are reacting to this strange time. However we can control who we connect with, and how often. We have the option to mute chats that aren’t making us feel good, while still being able to pick up the phone and call a friend. Watch Jigsaw Clinician Linda speaking a little more about this.

How you decide to control your phone use might change day to day, and that’s fine. At a time like this, it’s more important than ever to be patient with ourselves. Making a small change and seeing how that goes is enough.

Take care.

Laura, Jigsaw Clinician

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