Dear Farillio Expert: After lockdown, will we reject the virtual world in favour of real-life? The Media Psychologist, Charlotte Armitage talks about boundaries.

5 min read

Friday 23 Jul 21

Dear Farillio member,

On 27th April 2021, you asked our fabulous expert Charlotte Armitage on the Go Far Fast Show:

“What essential boundaries do we need to put down urgently? Will we reject the virtual world in favour of real-life when we start to see people again?”

And Charlotte said:

Be mighty always, Farillio


“No, I don't think we will. I think it's a beneficial tool for us, so I don't think we will reject that virtual world. We were still using social media, and probably overusing social media, before the lockdown. I don't think that will change now that lockdown is lifting. In fact, we will probably integrate more technological tools into our world of work, because it saves an absolute fortune in terms of things like travel. It allows us to connect with the rest of the world and it allows organisations to enter international markets which might have been more challenging previously. I don't think that will be putting down our social media just yet. I think we do need to set boundaries. How many times have I said that during this conversation?!

With everything in life, when it comes to our psychological functioning and mental health, it comes to setting appropriate boundaries around us for what feels safe and comfortable for us. This is true, not just in respect to social media, but also with things like the amount of time we work, the amount of alcohol we drink, and the amount of time we spend on holiday. These are all things that we need to make decisions on and that help us to protect our mental health and well-being. Even questions like how much time do I want to spend with my partner, my husband, or my friends? These are things that we make decisions on so that we feel comfortable and we don't feel overwhelmed. It's the same with social media.

We need to decide ‘what am I comfortable with?’. Some people may be comfortable with being on it all the time, but I think it's important to set time limits. If you're finding that being on social media is troublesome, the problem that we get into a pattern. We go on the phone, we unlock the apps and we go through them. If you remove those apps, you break that chain of behaviour, so removing those apps is a really good way of putting a barrier up. I can't tell you to do this that and the other, because what feels right for one person will not feel right for another. It's about us knowing what's best for ourselves and recognising when we are overusing it and falling into a cycle of addiction. We need to think about why we are overusing our social media, what is the reason for that? Is it that I’m lonely and I want to feel connected to people? Knowing those reasons will help you to use social media more safely.”

Ask your question:

If you have any questions that you'd like us to ask in a future Go Far Fast Show, send us a DM on Twitter or on LinkedIn. We'd love to hear from you!

Want more from Charlotte?

You can also find Charlotte’s answers to other questions being asked by you and your community in our Dear Farillio Expert section on our blog site, and Charlotte’s great guidance on social media and mental health here. Download the full podcast here.

Please note: The contents of this blog are not tailored business advice or legal advice. This is guidance and information, which we do our best to keep current, relevant and helpful. If you need business or legal advice, please use our Speak To An Adviser service or you can get in touch via our LiveChat.

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