VANCOUVER -- If you’re on social media, you’ve seen arguments about the pandemic and the drama of American politics playing out over and over again on your feed.

And it’s not a surprise that psychologists say that can impact your mood and your mental health. But Thomas Germain, Consumer Reports’ tech editor, says it doesn’t have to be that way. 

“You actually have some control over what kinds of posts you see on social media. This isn’t about blocking out the world and pretending that nothing wrong is happening,” he says. “It’s about taking back control and deciding when you want to interact with this kind of content, and doing so on your own terms.” 

To filter hate speech, hoaxes and violence out of your social feeds, you can unfollow someone or even snooze them for 30 days – just click the three dots at the top right of a post on Facebook. Or you can click “hide post” so the platform learns what kind of content you don’t want to see. 

Using those same three dots, you can also report abusive content or spam. Twitter and Instagram have menus at the top right that allow you to do some of the same things. 

“The psychologist that I spoke to said this is actually a really important step for people to take to limit the sorts of things that they’re interacting with online, as a sort of balm for your mental health,” Germain says. 

Although social media companies have policies to curb hate speech and misinformation, users say they’re still seeing it. 

“Which is why it’s important for you to take steps yourself to make sure you’re not being exposed to things on the internet that you don’t want to see,” Germain adds. 

One other way to avoid those social posts that may get your blood boiling – sort your feed chronologically instead of letting the algorithm do it for you. 

With files from Consumer Reports