Social Media is cool… but there’s a serious flip side to this whole game. Addiction!
Like entertainment, employment, networking, socializing, shopping, etc. The content we see on the platform influence our mindset and our decisions on various aspects of life.
Although social media gives countless benefits and advantages to the users and the community; you cannot ignore the immense cons it provides. Social media addiction is becoming prominent each day, and people are suffering without even realizing.
What is Social Media Addiction
Have you ever wondered why do you constantly feel the urge to check the Instagram feed and know what is going on? Sometimes, it becomes hard for you to survive if you cannot check your Facebook for a day.
You cannot stop yourself from checking the stories and IGTV videos so that you first grab your phone before doing other important stuff.
Social Media addiction is a psychological urge that humans feel to check their social media accounts to know what is happening. The tendency becomes so prominent that people start spending additional time on social networking that started affecting their other areas of life.
The meaning of addiction represents the inability to stop using or doing something harmful.
However, no official benchmark shows that a person is affected by social media addiction. If people indulge themselves in the extensive use of social media, they are most likely to develop social media addictive behavior.
You feel the irresistible attraction whenever you have free time to grab your phone and check social media platform. You are overwhelmed by knowing what people are sharing on social media and which hashtag trending and son.
Worst case is, you know that you are affected by the excessive use of social media platforms but you cannot stop your mind to avoid looking wasting time in mobile or desktop browsing social media and complete the pending tasks first.
Whether you are eating, driving, walking, exercising, you cannot bear not looking at Instagram and facebook feed.
Social Media Addiction is More Prevalent Than You Think
Usage of social media and smartphone are interdependent. Thanks to smart technologies and easy user interface, all major social media platforms are accessible from smartphones, and we can correlate the excessive usage of smartphone is due to the desire of staying online and getting updated of every online activity.
As per a study, Teenagers who spend around 5 hours using a smartphone are more exposed to have depression in their lives. Their tender minds have unlimited access to internet and technology which lead to more significant consequences.
As per the graph is shown below, in 2017, the number of hours spend on daily social media usage is increased significantly.
In the span of 24 months, you can see the significant change in people’s hourly use per day.
The number of people who were using social media for 3 to 5 hours has grown by more than 50% in just two years. Interestingly, people who use social media for 10 hours too have seen a significant jump during the same period.
The increase of daily social media poses a significant threat to society because people’s mind can affect hitherto undreamt of. As the amount of time is shifted towards social networking, people get less time for work, look after the family, spend time with loved ones or learn new things.
When depressive symptoms are linked with mobile usage, the overall effect is 58% more prominent on female users compared to males.
The extravagant use of social media platforms fuels the negative emotions of comparison and jealousy that lead to less life satisfaction and more frustration.
Social media exposure also results in narcissistic behavior and lower self-confidence among individuals. As per a fact, young and single females show more addictive behavior compared to their counterparts.
90% of drivers use the smartphone while driving and out of 50% of them have admitted that they check social media while driving. The downside of excessive use of social media can be life-threatening and may result in fatal road accidents.
Most of the activities performed while driving a car is to updating a status or clicking a selfie or responding to a message or attend a call. In the end, the driver gets his vision off the road because of using social media, and the result might be road accidents. As per a fact, on an average nine people die to distracted drivers who cause road accidents.
In research at Chicago University, the addition to social media is found to be stronger than cigarettes and alcohol. You can imagine the urges people would be feeling and sense of satisfaction they get after using social media.
It seems legit because consuming alcohol and cigarettes can affect your finance and physical health so after some time if you have problems at both the ends, you would restrict yourself from consuming alcohol and cigarettes. However, social media platforms are easy and free to use.
You won’t have to pay any extra charges, and there are no life-threatening physical consequences for using social media. Although your muscles might get tired and your concentration would be less if you keep using social media, your life won’t be in danger just having cancer by excessive drinking and smoking.
The way social media supports a different form of content and the amount of content generated daily show the potential consumption of social media channels that would affect our daily lives.
Consider YouTube, which is the best video streaming platform, for example. YouTube handles the upload of 300 hours of video content each minute. The amount of YouTube video streamed every day is worth 1 billion hours in a regular 24 hours.
How to Check if You are Suffering from Social Media Addiction
People don’t even know that they are suffering from social media addiction. There are specific behavioral observations that direct to the conclusion that an individual is using social media channels more than required.
You keep checking your phone to see if there any new message, tweet, post, story, etc.
After a couple of minutes, you find yourself unlocking your phone and unknowing tapping into social media apps to see if there are any new messages which you are not supposed to respond immediately, but still, you wish to check.
When you don’t have a phone with you, you feel lost, isolated and frustrated. You don’t know how to spend your spare time if you cannot check your social media accounts for some time, and you feel restless and bewildered about your existence.
The frustration and crave due to unavailability of internet and social media can impact your other parts of life as well.
If you don’t receive the usual number of likes and comments after publishing your photograph on Instagram or tweeting about the dish you had in brunch, you feel lonely and left out.
This is one of the common hustles people go through while they start using social media on a daily basis and cannot get the desired response. A single social media comment or the post cannot decide your worth.
Whenever your friend or colleague posts Instagram story where they were having a good time with their friends and family, you feel FOMO – fear of missing out which sometimes leads to jealousy and low self-esteem.
Today, nobody shares social media posts of the struggle they had gone through that brought them where they are.
You want to upload the pictures of all the places you have ever visit. It has become your habit of telling people on social media platforms about the new places you have seen along with unique food you tried on the weekend and so on.
You feel that people should know what is happening in your life and your travel would only count if you can share social media updates of the same.
You cannot maintain your focus on a single task that is most important to do at a given moment. Thanks to overusing social media in routine life, you cannot concentrate on your everyday tasks because you always wanted to check the updates of your friends. Whenever your phone buzzes the notification sounds, you cannot restrict yourself from checking the notifications.
Your conscience looks for your phone after waking up in the morning. Instead of brushing your teeth or getting refreshed, you automatically check your phone to see any social media update. As per a fact, 28% of iPhone users check Twitter feed first thing in the morning while they are still in bed and haven’t started their day.
You think you should check your phone because you cannot sleep during the night. You believe that checking your phone will stop your thoughts and help you relax during the night, and then you are not alone. Around 45% of users check social media instead of sleeping during the night.
How to Get Rid of Social Media Addiction
1. Block Notifications on Your Smartphones
Usually, when you unlock your phone to make an urgent call and come across notifications of social media and messaging apps.
Your time and energy are distracted, and you feel the urge to look for that social media update. To avoid such happening with you, block notifications.
One of the best ways to get rid of social media addiction is to stop receiving the notifications of the same on your smartphone. Once stop seeing the notification badges on your phone, you would not even know that there is a new update online unless you tap the application manually and open it.
2. Keep Less Social Media Apps
Unless you are a social media marketer who manages a bunch of clients and their digital activities through social media, you must avoid using all social media platforms in your mobile device. It will not only make your smartphone easy to use but save your time.
You can use productivity and time management apps to keep a log of your daily activities and manage your routine efficiently. There are lots of exciting and helpful mobile apps that can help you achieve optimum productivity in your routine.
3. Don’t Place Social Media Apps on Home Screen
Whenever you start your phone, and there is a folder of social media and messaging apps, you might turn to them and start using it.
To avoid that, you should not keep social media apps on your home screen. Let it be in the app drawer and add only necessary apps in the home screen.
4. Restrict Your Social Media Use
Maintain a time log and stick to it for accessing your social media channels. This will develop a will power to avoid using social media and involved in productive workflow instead.
5. Schedule Your Social Media Posts
If you cannot avoid posting your social media posting due to various reasons, schedule your posts. There are several productive tools available that can help you plan your tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook videos, and so on.
You no longer have to go to each platform to publish a post on a specific time. These tools also allow you insights into the right time to upload to their platform.
Any addiction or bad habits are harder to get rid off, but one has what it takes to transform his or her life through the willpower and discipline. Social media addiction is a prominent psychological urge that will hold you back to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity in your daily routine.
Observe your behavior and try to cultivate your routine in a way to live up to your fullest potential. Don’t try to take significant steps in changing your addictive habits. Small steps for a particular period can give you the mental strength to channelize your energies into a more productive way.
Let us know your views about social media addiction and any incident you have come across due to this behavior. If you are facing this psychological behavior yourself or you got out of it, share your experience in comments to help others too.