I often wonder if I’m addicted to social media, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Social networking addiction is a phrase sometimes used to refer to someone spending too much time using Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media – so much so that it interferes with other aspects of daily life.
There’s no official medical recognition of social networking addiction as a disease or disorder. Still, the cluster of behaviours associated with heavy or excessive use of social media has become the subject of much discussion and research.
Phones have recently brought out a breakdown of your screen time, and it’s given me a bit of a fright, I was averaging around 6h a day on my phone… As the holiday season is coming up, I thought I would share a few tips on how to step away from your phone to avoid unnecessary stress, anxiety or FOMO.
To determine if I was addicted to social media, I answered the following questions:
- Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
- Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?
- Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?
- Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success?
- Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
- Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?
I ticked a few of these boxes and started to think about what I could do to help me detox, especially over the festive season. Here are three small steps that might help you:
Trick Number One
Don’t bother deleting your apps. You’ll forget your logins, which can become a real nightmare. Instead, use the screen time function to give yourself an achievable goal. I started with 1h of social media a day but allowing myself to extend should the urge be too strong, and gradually closing down that gap.
Trick Number Two
Engage in niche interest communities; stop treating social media like your junk food and instead try engaging yourself in activities that can help you down the line. Take up reading, meditation and exercise, which will help you grow both mentally and physically.
Trick Number Three
Go outdoors. “Put your phone down and play outside.” —That wasn’t your mom; that was expert advice. No, really; experts feel the best way to overcome this addiction is by distracting your mind away from social media – to make some friends in real life. We have fantastic weather this time of the year; take advantage of it while you are not forced to be behind a screen all day.
And remember, in the words of Albert Einstein:
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”