With over 1.5 billion Facebook users and 500 million on Instagram, social media has taken over and is becoming a huge part of our society as millennials.
So what is a social media addiction defined as?
“A social media addiction refers to an individual who spends a considerably large amount of their time on social media networking websites, to the extent that it interferes with other aspects of their daily life.”
What are the signs of addiction?
- Online persona: You have created an online social identity of yourself, which you use to actively construct a certain presentation of yourself.
- Fear of missing out: You fear of being forgotten or ignored, and get anxiety when an exciting event may be happening elsewhere. You need to know what’s going on and who’s doing what.
- Ego: You keep up the reputation of your online persona by posting a lot of selfies and ranking up a lot of likes.
- Smartphone obsessed: You are always active on your smartphone and often find yourself on social media in most situations. After all, you don’t want to miss anything!
- Anxiety: You feel a sense of anxiety when you haven’t been online as regularly as you’d like.
You may not think much of how much time you invest online, and I can relate – it’s very easy to delve into the deep hole of social media, but to put it into perspective, how many times a day do you see someone glued to their phone, tapping and swiping away, completely oblivious to their own addiction?
The addiction with social media is rapidly increasing, with an estimated number of 2.3 billion active social media users (a staggering 28% of the World’s population!), and it has been found that users between the ages of 15 and 19 spend at least 3 hours per day on social media channels including the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But when does being an ‘active user’ turn into reliance, and possibly even addiction?
Below I have created some questions to help you figure out the extent of your online obsession, and have attached some links which can help you overcome your addiction and gain back precious time (and your right mind). Enjoy!
- Do you regularly find yourself online for longer than you initially intended?
- Do you neglect work and chores to spend more time online?
- Do you choose to spend more time online over spending time with family and friends?
- Does your job performance or productivity suffer because of the amount of time you spend online?
- Do others in your life complain to you about the amount of time you spend online?
- Have you formed new relationships with others online?
- Are you honest with others as to how much time you spend online?
- Do you become easily agitated if someone bothers you while you are online?
- Do you find yourself anxiously anticipating when you will next go online again?
- Do you fear that life without the Internet would be boring and empty?
- Do you lose sleep due to being online late at night?
- Have you tried to cut down the amount of time you spend online, and failed?
If you answered yes to the majority of questions, it may be time to consider cutting down on the time you spend online. Spending too much time online can cause significant problems in your real life, as it affects your ability to interact in real life. It can be very difficult to find a balance between your real-world life and your life online. It is a good idea to observe how you’re using social media and to see if there are ways that you can reduce or change your use of the internet to reduce the issues it may cause you in life.
Here are some tips on how to kick the habit:
- Cut down usage: Reduce the amount of time you spend on social media networks and make a schedule of when you will visit them and for how long. Soon enough, you will become used to spending less time on them, which allows you to spend more time on other hobbies.
- Turn off notifications: Turning off notifications doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on things so much as it’s refocusing on the most important things. The deciding question is not, “can I know about this right away?” but “do I need to know this right away?” If it’s not urgent, why bother blowing up your phone with updates that are completely unnecessary to the functionality of your day?
- Remove the accessibility: Delete apps on your smartphone to make it less likely for you to log on due to the hassle of logging in through a browser.
- Leave your phone at home: Do you find yourself constantly on your phone when you’re out and about? Leave your phone at home and you’ll leave social media behind too, allowing you to enjoy some reality.
- Use an alarm clock: If Facebook or Twitter is the last thing you see before you go to bed and the first thing you see when you wake up, then try putting your phone into ‘do not disturb’ mode or even switching your phone off all together. Using an alarm clock will allow you to gain a few extra hours of sleep at night and a bit of a shock to get you up in the morning.
- Take a social media detox: There is more to life than social media. Putting social media on pause for a little while will help you to regain almost 3 hours daily! Use this time to reconnect with the real world by refocusing your life and deepening your relationships.
Social media is an incredible platform with plenty of positive points however it is important to seek a harmonious balance between your online and real world lives.
Until next time,