Students attended an inspiring talk by blogger and digital media specialist Eric Stoller as part of Healthy Social Media Week at Uxbridge College.

Eric is the Student Affairs and Technology blogger for Inside Higher Ed and speaks at events, colleges and university about the use and impact of digital media, and how social media can be used in learning and engagement. He guided students on the impact of their ‘digital footprint’ on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and how to create a professional image to boost their employment potential on LinkedIn.

Healthy Social Media Week combined messages about how students can stay safe online and use social media responsibly, with how to support and improve their mental health. It also looked at the ways the two were linked and the impact social media and mobile phone use can have on their health.

Messages included education on:

* The risks of spending too much time on social media including anxiety and depression, lack of sleep, developing a negative body image, cyber-bullying and FOMO (fear of missing out)

* How to help control social media usage by using specialist features on iPhones and Android phones that monitor and limit phone use, and Apps such as Hold which generates prizes for users who reduce their phone use

* Kooth App which provides free anonymous online counselling and support for young people.

Students could also win an ‘Internet Safety badge’ by successfully completing the Safe Online Quiz.

Liam Plumridge, Course Team Leader for Employability, Progress and Review, said: “We know that young people are becoming increasingly anxious because of how they are using social media, from lack of sleep to ‘fear of missing out’ to developing a negative body image. Healthy Social Media Week is part of the college’s ongoing strategy to help students develop better habits - social media should be something students enjoy and use responsibly in balance with other activities and the college certainly wants to do everything possible to support them in this.”

Uxbridge College supports students to lead healthy lifestyles physically and mentally with a range of ongoing activities and support.