“Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes to someone’s highlight reel”
Do you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+? If your answer is a yes, you know what social media is and there is a high chance that you are addicted to one of them.
There is absolutely no problem with using social media. The intention of using social media may be to check updates from their friends and to stay connected or to get entertainment and to kill time. There is nothing wrong with using social media until someone becomes addicted to social media and overspends their time on those platforms.
Social media addiction is a behavioral addiction characterized as being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important areas of life.
Recognizing social media addiction
There is a difference in the habitual use of social media and social media addiction. If you are worried about the risk of developing social media addiction, assess yourself with statements and tick YES or NO for each of them.
- Checking social media is the first thing you do whenever you are free.
- Social media is the first thing you do in the morning.
- You constantly monitor ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ you receive.
- You check notification all the time.
- You use social media to forget about personal problems.
- Craving for internet connection.
- You only want to contact and talk to your friends via social media.
- You waste your time looking at nonsense and procrastinate.
- You take photos of almost everything.
- You checked in everywhere you go.
If your answer is “YES” to more than half of these statements, then you may have or be developing a social media addiction.
Social media and mental health
As social media has become a big part of our daily life nowadays. The problem arises when social media overtake and control your life rather than you control them. Some of them are:
A negative emotional reaction due to the social pressure of sharing and comparison of things and material lessens self-esteem.
Fear of missing out (FOMO):
Fear of missing out the events; the extreme fear of not being included or missing social events has been linked to intensive social media use and is associated with lower mood and life satisfaction. Fear of missing out is followed by fear of people’s opinions which again leads to anxiety.
Stress and fatigue:
Continuous scrolling of social media leads to fatigue as the brain uses energy to process information and information overload leads to stress.
People can say anything they want and still goes away on the internet. The competition for attention and likes can also lead to it. Name-calling, rumor-spreading, and harassment among adolescent is high.
Social media use at night disrupts sleep in a number of ways; people stay up late online, the blue light from screen disrupts sleep and people may wake up in the night to check and respond to messages leading to anxiety and depression.
So what can I do?
Like other problems and addictions, there are solutions to social media addiction, however, the key is to have a strong commitment and self-discipline to follow some suggestions below so that you can control social media rather than letting it control you.
- Self-awareness: Being aware of the usage and its effect on daily life.
- Evaluate: Evaluating and monitoring time and contents viewed and shared.
- Time limitation: Moderating fix time for the use of social media.
- Getting rid of notification: Turning off notification via apps setting.
- Apps management: Managing apps via apps managers like “MOMENT”
- Switch off challenge: Switching off mobile when it is not necessary. For example at bedtime or important meetings.
- Fill the vacuum with its own reward system: Creating its own reward system for not using social media.
- No smartphone in your bedroom: Making your bedroom free of the smartphone, using table watch for the alarms.
- Engagement in alternative activities: Engaging in alternative activities for connection and updates. For instance- joining volunteer clubs.
- Self-reflection: Doing self-reflection to track the progress of the behavior.
Fortunately, addiction is treatable and many have successfully recovered. The best possible way to break an addiction to social media is to reduce screen time and set boundaries, however if the addiction level is severe you may require professional help.
If you have a hard time controlling your social media use and think you may be addicted, please contact a psychosocial counselor or psychiatrist, they can help you find the best possible way to lead you to the recovery.