Social media has craftily crept into lives and lured many into the dark hole of addiction. Initially, it was just a way to enhance life by helping you stay in touch with friends and sharing important moments. Soon, it became a medium where stalkers thrived and vanity became the order of the day. Certainly, it’s still useful for many who use it for business purposes, but when addiction creeps in, it can take a toll on you. By impacting your work, relationship and life generally, you will soon feel its impact.
For the millennials, there was really nothing like social media. Then came the latter age when MySpace Page, MSN Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger became a thing. Of course, there was Facebook as well — the old time friend. These were all functional to stay in touch with close friends and acquaintances, and to stay up to date with events. Although, at the time, these platforms were restricted to the computer — that box like thing. The best thing you could expect from your phone at the time was to either use it to play the Snake game or listen to the radio.
But the age of social media was beckoning, and the apps and smartphones were soon born. In the past 10 years, there has been a shift from the computer screen to our mobile devices. Now, you can chat on the go and check pictures or post them. The world of virtual life has taken over, and you can rarely take a glance away from your phone without finding someone neck down in theirs. A lot of people have become a little too enamoured with social media, and it can affect interpersonal relationships. One major cause for this growing addiction is the accessibility and portability of the device.
Here are questions to ask yourself to know your social media addiction status.
10 signs you are addicted to social media
- Do you catch yourself wondering what’s happening online even if you just checked some few minutes ago?
- Are you thinking about social media right now?
- Do you check your Facebook account 10 times a day?
- When you leave your phone behind at home, do you feel a sense of loss and isolation?
- Are your online friends more than your real life friends?
- When you don’t have your phone, do you feel a sense of panic?
- Do you tweet or chat while walking?
- When you wake up in the morning, do you check on social media first?
- Do you feel depressed or sad when you don’t get the expected number of likes and comments on posts?
- When you go to bed at night, do you check on your social media first?
Here’s the diagnosis: you are addicted, and you need to break up with your phone now.
Unfortunately, this addiction has affected many people’s lives. But fortunately, you’re not alone in this struggle and there’s a solution for you.
Getting over social media addiction
“Just being aware of how these technologies are affecting you and then approaching them with a more informed and balanced mindset can really help,” says Dr Aboujaoude, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford University.
If you’re struggling with social media addiction then you need to get over it – fast! Don’t worry, there are easy steps you can follow to get over it now.
- Assess your addiction.
- Step away from social media.
- Choose a healthy alternative.
While that might seem easy to do, you can still fall back into your addiction. This is possible if you don’t follow the last bit of advice accurately.
1. Assess your addiction
Having checked the ten questions, you probably have some symptoms of addiction. Now you can track your social media use by checking your past posts, and then track your time online. You can use the QualityTime App to track this. Finally, admit you have an addiction and move on to finding the solution.
2. Step away from social media
First, you should turn off all notifications to ensure you aren’t distracted. The ‘beep’ of the phone has a way of ringing alarms in your head that a new message just dropped. Honestly, you’re dealing with enough issues with picking up your phone on impulse as it is. Getting a notification would only remind you to keep feeding your addiction, so mute it!
Then you can time yourself. Let’s face it, going cold turkey on social media won’t cut it. You can set a timer hourly when you can check up on what’s happening. This may seem a bit pre-school but who cares as long as it works. Eventually, you can extend the timer and make it 2 hours or more, it all depends on the strength of your addiction.
3. Choose a healthy alternative
The truth is, social media eats at your time. There’s a lot you can do instead of staring down at your phone, practising your slang words and using emojis. Find another alternative. To do that, you can write a list of things you should be doing instead. Then you can do those things when idle because being idle just makes you remember that there’s a DM you haven’t checked. Also, after finding a new hobby, you should remember to spend more time with family. This way, you don’t really have to step out to step away from social media. Socialise with close family and friends.
Finally, rather than chat, why not call. Use your voice instead of your fingers.