Earlier this month we caught up with local TV personality and bestselling author Jordan Wylie, fresh from hosting the Pride of Andover awards.
I was very surprised to learn that a man who has a huge social media following (over 100,000 followers on all of his verified social platforms) had decided to take a break from social media and deactivate all his accounts. Perhaps what puzzled me even more was the fact he has just this week published a new book (The Power of the Paddle) and recently completed filming another 2 series of Channel 4’s Hunted and Celebrity Hunted, so why on earth would he have left social media! I wanted to learn more….
Jordan told us “I have decided to take a break from social media for a full year for a whole host of reasons to be very honest but first and foremost for the benefit of my own mental health and wellbeing. I have found social media to have a negative impact on my life recently and I have also seen it destroy the lives of others too and I decided I needed to do more to help young people understand that world we see online is often far from the reality of the world we live in.
“I am very fortunate to speak in schools on a weekly basis and I have heard so many stories of cyber bullying, trolling, abuse, negativity and more from children of all ages. I have also experienced this too so know how much it can affect a person’s mental wellbeing.
“I was in one school in Winchester a few months back and a group of children told me they wanted to be like me when they were older, at first I thought this was a lovely compliment……until I learnt they only wanted to be like me because apparently I’m what a society calls an ‘influencer’ these days……I was horrified to hear this and as well as learning of various tragedies such as suicide and attempted suicide all down to what people are experiencing online. If I am an influencer of some sort, I want to be a good role model and have a very positive influence. I want to do the right things and not necessarily the things that gain more likes, share, tweets and subscribers – this is not real life and the sooner young people understand that, the better!
“When I was a kid, if there was a bully around, as soon as we got home that was a safe place. Social media has allowed people to be bullied in their bedrooms without parents even being aware, there is no escape from it. I also feel we live in a world that has created a ‘comparison culture’ where everything wants to compare their everyday lives to someone else’s best bits and showreel!
“Of course, there are positive parts of social media, its has helped me find many opportunities, it has helped me raise funds for charities and it has allowed me to reach people cross the world. I’m certainly not saying don’t use social media, but I am saying that we need to better understand the challenges it presents for the next generation, we need to find the balance and also be prepared to take a break when we know it is having a negative impact of our wellbeing both psychological and physically too.
“I took my break from social media on 10th October 2021 and I hope to stay social media free until 10th October 2022 which is world mental health day. Throughout this period, I will be trying to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors, I will be encouraging others to immerse themselves in nature and limit their screen time too. In the first 6 weeks since I took a break, I have found that my sleeping patterns have improved, I have less anxiety, I have more time in the day, I engage much more socially with people, my relationships have improved and I absolutely love it!
If people wish to stay in touch with Jordan or keep up to date with his adventures then please do visit his website www.jordanwylie.org