Written by Jo Langford, M.A.

Our screens can allow us to stay connected with friends, family, and others who share similar interests through online groups, clubs, and teams. But it can also get in the way of making those relationships and connections as well. Read below to learn some important tips and tools to support healthy relationships both on and offline.

Social Media
  • Your friend count online is not a real-world badge of how popular or loved you are — do not confuse followers with IRL (in real life) friendships.
  • Do not share passwords. If needed, only share your passwords with a trusted caregiver; friends and intimate relationships may change and you don’t want just anyone having access to your personal information and social media accounts.
  • Unfriend/unfollow/block those who make you uncomfortable, and don’t waste time trying to argue with others who engage in digital drama, negative commenting, or hate speech.
  • Think before you post and consider your intentions and how your post will impact the feelings of others.
  • Obtain consent before posting or sharing any images or information about someone else.
Screen Time
  • Spending too much time on a device can take away from family time, or time spent with friends. Balance your online life with real-time, positive human contact.
  • Unfriend/unfollow people who make you uncomfortable — on most platforms the blocked or unfriended individuals don’t get a notification that you did so.
  • Most online gaming is done in isolation; balance out hours of video gaming with IRL (in real life) activity.
  • Make gaming a connective activity involving real-world friends and family as much as you can.
  • Gaming can increase our cortisol/stress hormones, heart rate, competitiveness, and frustration.
  • Gaming alone before social activities like family meals or school can make it harder to engage with others.