…and how to overcome it
Social media has become a huge part of our lives – and it’s also created some problems we need to address. Social media addiction is increasingly common, and it affects more than just younger generations. If you feel as though you’re spending too much time on social media or that it causes problems in your life, this article will help you understand the issue and give you ways to overcome your social media addiction.
What is Social Media Addiction?
Social media addiction is the idea that one’s use of social media is negatively impacting their life. Research has shown that social-media addiction can result in a feeling of time wasted. Although your online connections may have close and casual relationships with each other, most likely there will be more time spent with friends in person. With this lack of proper communication and interactions comes a society that is being swallowed by its devices.
Are You Addicted? Signs of Social Media Addiction
One of the most common signs that someone is addicted to social media is when they feel like their life would be better if they spent more time online. This may mean the person is living vicariously through other people’s photos or doesn’t know how to spend time outside. Others have found themselves neglecting relationships with friends and family because they are so consumed by their social media life. One study even says that social media users are at higher risk for depression than those who don’t use it.
Although most think these issues only exist among teens, as social media usage has been steadily increasing in adults over 50 years old, addiction rates in this age group are on the rise as well.
The Signs of Social Media Addiction are:
Social media is the first thing you check when you wake up and the last before bed – you are addicted or getting addicted.
If you can’t spend a day without checking your social media pages and apps; if you feel you are spending too much time on social media, and you are worried about how it may be affecting your life, it’s important to get support. Try talking with a close friend or family member first. They can help you determine whether your use is problematic, and if so can help you decide on steps to change your habits. Talking with a therapist or counsellor can also help overcome social media addiction, as they can teach useful coping strategies for building better habits when using social media.
What are the Risks?
Social media addiction may seem harmless but there are many risks involved. One is that people can develop anxiety or social anxiety as a result. If someone spends their entire day scrolling through their phone, they don’t have the chance to be a part of reality and interact with other people. Another risk is that it makes someone too self-conscious, almost in an obsessive way. They will constantly compare themselves to others on social media, and become overly critical of their appearance and life achievements.
In other words, many times what you see on social media isn’t real; but it can make you feel like your life is worthless and that nobody likes you or cares about you.
How to Overcome Social Media Addiction
Social media addiction is a very real phenomenon that has been studied extensively in recent years. Many people log onto their favorite social media sites in the morning and don’t even realise how much time they’ve spent until they look at the clock. The addiction goes beyond just browsing and can lead people to become preoccupied with their timeline, often neglecting other tasks like work or personal responsibilities. Social media addiction can also cause feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Luckily, there are ways to overcome this condition. One study found that spending more time away from screens can increase physical health benefits and reduce mental fatigue – especially for teens who spend as many as nine hours a day online on any given day!
Stay Away From These Sites/Apps
Most importantly, avoid using social media when you’re feeling low. They’ll only make you feel worse, and they will hinder your recovery.
If you’re serious about overcoming your addiction, there are a many great programs out there that can help! To get started, start by restricting the time you spend on these sites each day; and don’t engage with them first thing in the morning or before bedtime. If temptation gets too high and you need some extra help, add an app like Break Free from Any App or App Detox for extra support.
It’s important not to compare yourself to others on social media, and stay off these sites whenever possible because they just show us what we want to see – most of which is unrepresentative of reality.
Dealing With Friends’ Posts
As we scroll through our feed, posts from friends that have gone on exciting vacations or had a baby start to blur together with sponsored posts. Suddenly, scrolling through our feed seems like a never-ending competition. Have you liked enough friends’ statuses? Are your photos as good as theirs? This can lead us down a dangerous path of addiction if we do not take the time to assess what is important in life and what should not be of concern. More importantly, we must develop an attitude that social media isn’t everything, and it cannot define who we are in reality. We must be selective about what is worthy of our attention to combat social media addiction. Here are five helpful tips for how you can cope with this growing issue:
Get Out of ‘FOMO’
If you are reading this, then you are not just experiencing FOMO. But by acknowledging the reality, you can start taking steps to overcome it. Here’s a six-step process that will help:
- Identify your triggers; 2. Figure out when and where you engage with social media the most; 3. Designate specific times to use social media; 4. Force yourself not to use social media for some time; 5. Tackle the root cause of your addiction; 6. Make sure that what you put on social media is true to who you are.
Like anything else, if you are using social media in moderation it can be a healthy and beneficial addition to your life. But if you’re constantly online, focusing on likes and followers instead of real people or relationships in your life, it’s time for a change. If you think you might be socially connected but also socially addicted, take these few steps:
- Delete or greatly limit Facebook or Instagram from your phone
- Turn off notifications
- Block yourself from going on certain platforms for some time
- Make decisions about what information gets posted on social media sites
Get the book Hooked: Overcoming Social Media Addiction
Bernard is a Speaker, Lecturer and Corporate Trainer.