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NBC4/10TV: Mental Impact After Facebook and Others Go Offline

Social media is very much part of our daily routine.  People log-in, scroll for hours, and posts photos, thoughts, and more.  When Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went dark this week, many were left wishing they had their favorite sites back.

“I think it really shows how reliant many people have become upon social media,” said Megan Schabbing, MD, system medical director of Psychiatric Emergency Services at OhioHealth to NBC4. “That incident was really indicative of how dependent many people have become on social media.”

While there are some good things that can come from social media, Dr. Schabbing said many people have let it control their lives.  So, in some regards, the good that might come from the outage is allowing people to stay away.

“It was almost an unintentional experiment, so it was almost like you were forced to not have that screen time, and guess what? Everybody made it through,” she said to NBC4. “No matter what the effect the outage had on you personally, the take-home message is social media can be a positive for people if you find a way to limit the time you spend on it and just make sure you have control over it. When the social media takes control over you and you can’t go without it, that’s when you might start to think it’s a problem.”

Where will people go from here? Many are right back on the social media sites. But Dr. Schabbing hopes is serves as a wake-up call to find other things that draw people together, instead of pulling people apart.

“I think it’s just good to use it as a reminder [that] you got to spend time in person with people,” she said to 10TV.

The key, Dr. Schabbing says, is to limit screentime for you and your family.

To see the full stories from 10TV, and NBC4, click the logos below.