Ambassador voices: Leaving your echo chamber
My name is Kayleigh (name changed to protect my privacy) and I am a Community Champion at The Mix. This week I am writing an article as part of the Christmas Campaign and this week’s article is about leaving your echo chamber.
What is an echo chamber?
An echo chamber is when you are always in a group with people who share the same beliefs. This can be on social media, in university, or anywhere that you are commonly with the same group of people. Sometimes this can have a positive impact because of having a sense of belonging, but it can also have a negative impact on your mental health due to worrying about prejudice or being judged by your family for not having the same beliefs.
An example of an echo chamber
Many university students will soon be returning home for Christmas and they would be part of an echo chamber because they are likely to be coming from a place where their friends shared the same political beliefs and values as them. This means that it might be hard to return home to a family who have different beliefs. This can have an impact on relationships between families.
Social media can be an echo chamber
Social media can be an echo chamber because some people might only follow accounts or users who share the same beliefs such as only following people who are a Labour supporter or follow a particular religion.
My experience of an echo chamber
An echo chamber that I have personally experienced is being on social media. I used to feel like I was not alone and that I had a sense of belonging online because many people at my school also use social media and I did not want to feel left out.
However, being part of this echo chamber also had a negative impact on me because I felt like I wasn’t really able to follow my passions and there was a lot of negativity against certain echo chambers. I stopped using social media when I realised it was having a negative impact on my schoolwork and my mental health. I found it hard to leave the echo chamber and sometimes I don’t feel part of the crowd at school anymore, but I have been learning how to cope. Leaving an echo chamber can be really hard.
How to cope with leaving an echo chamber
It is very important to learn how to cope after leaving an echo chamber, whether that is taking a break from social media or returning home from university. This is because you can sometimes feel really isolated being away from an echo chamber. You might struggle with relationships with your family if they do not have the same beliefs that you have, or what you were influenced to believe by the people that you were always with.
The Mix’s tips on leaving an echo chamber for Christmas
- Make time to look after yourself while you’re at home – you could head out for a walk alone or have a bath for some peace and quiet.
- Try to stay open to discussing your beliefs with your family – they may not be as opposed as you think and you might learn from each other.
- Stay in touch with your friends, so you still feel connected to and supported by your community.
- If conversations get heated, take time out to cool down to avoid arguments (even if others don’t do the same!).
Support The Mix
The Mix want to help to support young people who might be struggling with leaving their echo chamber and adjusting to new environments during these difficult times. So will you help The Mix this Christmas? Will you donate to The Mix to help continue the amazing support that is given to many young people? The Mix supports young people on many issues such as homelessness, bullying, bereavement, mental health and many other topics. Please help to ensure that this can continue. The Mix relies heavily on the kindness of donations and many amazing volunteers.
If you need support on leaving your echo chamber
Speak to the team at The Mix, who are there to support you with any issue you’re facing.
Read The Mix’s relationship survival guide for being at home for Christmas.
- If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
- Our Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, you can text THEMIX to 85258
- Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
- Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.
By Holly Turner
Updated on 01-Dec-2020
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