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Click safe: a social media guide for seafarers (Photo by Erik Lucate on Unsplash).
In my recent article, I tackled the negative effects of social media on seafarers. But social media is not the problem – it is how we use it. Here are some tips on maintaining a healthy social media life on board.
Set time limits
Time is limited, especially on board. We need time to work, time to rest—and time online is subtracted from that. Limiting social media time not only allows our bodies time to recover and rest, it also gives our brains a rest. Information overload can overtax the brain and can eventually lead to digital addiction.
Do not disconnect from the actual world
Don’t disregard the presence of our crewmates. Reach out more often and invest in building strong relationships so we can create a healthy workplace. We need real people we can run to for company and support, because not every answer can be found online.
Turn off notifications before going to sleep
Beeping phones and glowing screens are very distracting and can affect the quality of our sleep. Practice turning our notifications off, and putting our phones on silent mode, so we can provide ourselves the energy we need for the next day.
Know your company policies
Different companies have different rules set out on their manuals. Be familiar with your company’s guidelines on social media usage. Some companies are sensitive with us posting port locations and even parts of the ships because of privacy and security measures. Social media may give us the freedom, but we are still under our company’s policies. Let us be professionals.
We may not agree with the different opinions, cultures, and preferences that we see posted on social media. We can, however, show respect for these differing viewpoints and instead, look at these as an opening for helpful conversations. We can also make our posts politically correct, non-offensive to any race, religion, gender, or social classification. If we want respect, we need to give respect.
Stop shaming others just because you’re upset
Fights happen on board especially when there is pressure. What we must make sure of though, is that we address the issues in due process. We have grievance procedures to follow and department heads to report to. If we have issues outside the vessel, then we can make use of internet to connect to the person directly to clarify and fix things. Remember, posting about our anger on social media and shaming a person do not speak of his or her values, it speaks of ours.
Represent yourself, not what the society wants you to be
Social media envy is one of the major factors why people fall into depression. When our friends post pictures and talk other big moments of their lives, we may always think about missing out on life while we are at sea. The question is, do we really have to keep up with the others, or do we set our own pace, set our own terms? If we choose the latter, then we know we are ‘ourselves’ and we deserve to be celebrated.
Value others’ privacy
We love capturing life’s moments in photos. But when we are in a group picture, have we ever asked if it is okay with everyone to put it out on social media? Some people may prefer not to be tagged in photos or mentioned in posts. Be more conscious and more responsible about posting details of other people (and our own details as well!).
Avoid using social media while on duty
Lastly, let us talk about our use of social media during our watches. As professionals, we are always bound to be perform to the best of our abilities. If social media redirects our focus, then, we become less of the professionals we have sworn to be. Let us not put our own safety and that of others at risk by prioritizing social media over our duties. There is a time for everything, and when it is time to work, we have to make sure we do it – not just actively, but religiously.
It is a big world for all of us and dangers of the sea are not virtual. Click responsibly! Safe sailing, mates!