Are you as healthy online as you are offline?


This blog was written by Ashley Taylor, a recently graduated Duke student.

Facebook boasts over 800 million active users, and more than 50% of them log in on any given day. Every single minute, over 48 hours of video is being uploaded to YouTube, and videos on the site are receiving more than two billion views daily! This year, the announcement of Beyoncé’s pregnancy sparked Twitter’s highest “tweets per second” rate at nearly 9,000 tweets. The bottom line is that lots of people are using social networking sites almost all of the time.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and similar sites encourage us to capture and share almost every moment of our lives with countless others. They even allow us to create moments through interactions they facilitate, such as status updates, picture comments and instant messaging. Through them, we keep in touch with family members, we make and interact with friends, we promote businesses and services, and we even make employment connections. Thus, our reputations online are becoming as important as the real-world personas we portray. So, my question today is “Are you as healthy online as you are offline?”

If taking care of yourself is something you take pride in, you should want that to be visible in all aspects of your life. Our wonderful Student Wellness Center has come up with a wellness wheel to help us remember a few important areas of health, three of which I think we should pay extra attention to while conducting ourselves online: values, choices and finances (other areas include self-care, intellectual, and physical environment). Thumbnail

Values: It is so important to know who you are and what you believe in. When a provocative status or article shows up on your newsfeed, you’ll need to be able to express yourself and your beliefs in a manner that is mature and respectful.  Your comment should be a meaningful contribution to healthy dialogue. Furthermore, the content of your profile and postings are always being used to judge you, intentionally or not. Make sure they say exactly what you want them to.

Choices: No paragraph needed- Be wise about what you choose to broadcast about yourself, the whole world is your audience, literally.

 Advertising is the number one source of income for the most popular sites on the web, meaning we can expect to be constantly bombarded with them while online…and boy are they tempting?! Debt is very easy to get into, and extremely difficult to get out of- I know from experience. You mustn’t be consumed by these glitz and ease of shopping online. Budget, budget, budget! Give yourself an allowance for online shopping, and stick to it! Also, check out some of the great budgeting tools on websites like that are really good with reminders and notifications.
Let’s be healthy in all that we do. Make sure that you are as healthy online as you are off. Take care of yourselves and your profiles!