Psychological Boundaries and Social Media Use

November 11th, 2023 ANGEL TANG, AMFT


Setting psychological Boundaries around your Social Media use can be helpful in increasing self awareness, esteem building, and assertiveness.


Social Media – it is everywhere!

Virtual connections and public lives have grown into modern-day routines, and often young and adult minds alike become addicted to social media consumption because of the monetization of identity data and product designs (which is a huge societal discussion topic for a different platform,) today we’re challenging the social norm of permission for social media to dominate our waking attention, and ways we may benefit from distance from social media.


Consider your current use… 

Are you consuming a lot of social media content on your phone or digital devices, and scrolling, tapping, and swiping, until you realize the night as turned to morning? 

How about pressing the “15 more minutes” button on your digital wellbeing reminder, a social media boundary your past self had set for your present self to limit your consumption for the day? 

Remember that time you deleted a social media profile you wanted to cancel from your life, but you redownloaded it anyway because you could not resist the FOMO feelings… and you may have your own versions of stories of your struggles with digital data consumption…

You may have experienced one or many of these, and various feelings are coming up…

Now, you may or may not have an idea of whether you would like things to change. You may feel that social media has crossed your own personal boundaries these days. And this topic might not be something you consider a drastic issue right now. However, if you would like something to be different, this is for you!

There are benefits to social media as well as negative consequences, so when you set psychological boundaries surrounding your social media use, you can have a better perspective with your use/relationship with social media. 


Before going on your social media apps, check in with yourself…

What is your current emotional state? You might ask yourself “What am I feeling, right now?”

Some of my clients have shared that they felt “bored”, “Lonely”, “tired”, and “just need something to unwind”. Does this sound like you? 

Then, ask yourself “What do I intend to get out of the app, right now?”

Much like mindfulness lifestyles that encourage mindful eating, mindful breathing, and meditation, by setting your intention for the next 10 minutes, 40 minutes, or 6 hours of social media consumption, you are bringing critical awareness to how much of your psychological attention you are sacrificing, and what it is you are seeking and whether social media is the solution.

If you do decide that you’d like to spend X- amount of time on social media, 

Continue the check-in with yourself periodically.

Questions like “Does this point make me feel a certain way?”

“How do I feel right now?” and “Has this scrolling session achieved what I intended to?”

This helps bring conscious awareness to our habitual tendencies to continuously scroll without intention. 

Be curious about what you are experiencing on this side of the digital space. Whatever you are feeling is true and valid. 

Thank yourself for acknowledging your emotions. Because in the moment, only you will be able to acknowledge them.

At the end, check-in with yourself.

 If your goals of using these social media apps were to “make the negative feelings go away”, ask whether that actually happened. These negative feelings might still be there, or other emotions might have come up because of some content that came up during your session. Know that negative emotions deserve acknowledgment, and will not go away by you using social media. Your social media-addicted mind expects that by you endlessly scrolling, the solution to your emotions will come up. 

You may have your own digital media boundary-setting tips too, and feel free to share them with others!

Social media use has its benefits, and at the same time, by setting boundaries and being aware of your consumption, you can begin to increase your self-awareness, mindfulness skills and self-love.

I hope you got some ideas and entertainment through this post. This post is not a replacement for receiving professional mental health help through mental health professionals. If you are struggling with mental health issues or other psychological illness, please seek professional psychotherapy. I would be happy to help! A free consultation is a call away.



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Angel Tang, AMFT 137268 is supervised and employed
by Allison Arkfeld, LMFT 118095 at The Cove: Therapy & Coaching