Do you find yourself checking your Facebook every other minute? Do you spend hours on end scrolling aimlessly through your Instagram feed? Or do you find the need to document your entire day on Snapchat stories?
If your answer to all three questions is YES, then there is a chance that you have social media addiction.
But first, what is social media, and why is everyone using it?
Social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat refer to applications that are designed to allow people stay connected with one another and to share news, information, opinions, or photos quickly and effectively. Social media has become the cornerstone of modern communication and one sign of that would be the fact that more and more big companies use social media for promotion, while turning away from conventional commercials and ads.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using social media. In fact, if a young person were to tell me that they do not use any type of social media at all, I would think that this person is highly suspicious.
However, the problem arises when we start to spend too much time on social media. This usually occurs when one becomes emotionally and mentally attached to maintaining a constant connection with the world through technology, which leads to an addiction.
Hence, social media addiction can be defined as the overuse of social media to the point where it negatively impacts one’s daily life.
Here are some common signs of social media addiction:
- The first thing you do in the morning is check your social media
- You start checking your notifications all the time
- You constantly monitor the amount of ‘likes’ you get
- You take and post photos or videos of just about anything
- You spend up to 5 hours on social media a day
- Procrastination becomes your new best friend
If the signs above feel like they are describing you, then you might have a problem. However, you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal?” Despite your messed up sleep schedule or the fact that you procrastinate on everything, you still get good grades, finish all your assignments and have the time to socialize.
Let me tell you that besides taking up much of your time, the overuse of social media also leads to many other problems:
- A variety of health problems such as poor eyesight, bad posture and constant headaches
- Instant gratification that leads to a lower attention span, distraction, and a drop in productivity
- ‘Digital warriors’ on platforms without boundaries that may cause cyberbullying
- The loss of physical interaction which leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation
- You stop living in the moment because you’re too busy recording and documenting everything
- Comparison is the thief of joy, especially when you see how fun other people’s lives are on social media
So, are you convinced that addiction to social media is bad for you yet? Well I surely hope so. It may not look bad because most of your peers are doing it too, but as the saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right. Just because the people around you are addicted so social media does not mean you are immune to the negative effects of excessive social media usage.
Therefore, here are some useful suggestions on how to reduce your social media usage:
- Make yourself busy by joining clubs, sports or events
- Get a new hobby that takes up time such as reading or working out
- Set a time limit on your usage
- Do not use your phone past 12.00 am
- Disable unimportant notifications
- Delete, disconnect, and rediscover yourself
In conclusion, while social media can be a great way to connect with people, do not to let it control you. Remember, you should be the one that controls it as a tool.