Are you addicted to social media? If you're reading this, there's a good chance you might be. Social media has taken over the lives of many people around the world, and it's not hard to see why.
It's easy to get sucked into the world of social media. It's a great way to stay connected with friends and family, and it's a great way to keep up-to-date on what's going on in the world. But it can also be a huge time sink, and it can be addictive.
A recent study defines social media addiction as "a condition characterized by excessive and compulsive use of social media platforms." The study found that people addicted to social media often display symptoms similar to other addictions, such as gambling and drugs. These include feelings of anxiety, depression, and irritability when they are not able to access social media.
How can you tell if you're addicted to Social Media?
A recent survey by designpickle shows how much time people spend on social media daily outside work. 38% of the group reported using social media for 3 hours or more per day for non-work-related activities, while 28% reported using it for little more than an hour outside of work.
This is true as social media users have grown over the past years. Analysis from Kepios shows that there are now 4.70 billion social media users worldwide in July 2022, 59% percent of the total global population. It means half of the people in the world are now inclined to the power of social media.
The dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have produced, according to Chamath Palihapitiya, a former vice president for user growth at Facebook, are harming society. If something good happens, our brains release dopamine, which makes us feel gratified.
Social media can be addictive because it provides constant stimulation and rewards. Every time you check your phone or log on to your favorite platform, you get a dopamine hit, which feels good.
But at the same time, most people who use social media don't actually have an addictive disorder. They might get addicted to the pleasure they get from using social media, but that's different from being addicted to the internet itself.
Common signs of Social Media addiction
Addiction is a serious issue, and social media addiction is no different. It's essential to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy behavior on social media. Here are some signs that your social media use may be becoming addictive:
- Spending more time on social media than interacting with real people in person.
- Finding yourself scrolling through your feed even when you're supposed to be doing something else.
- Getting anxious or depressed when not being able to access social media.
- You feel the need to constantly check for likes, comments, and other forms of validation.
- Been told by others that you're addicted to social media
- Trying to quit but experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- Comparing yourself to others online
How to be balanced in using Social Media?
If you're one of those people who just can't seem to stay off social media, even when you know you should, don't worry – you're not alone. And there are still steps you can take to have healthy use of social media.
Define your goals
Before changing your social media habits, you need to figure out what you're hoping to achieve by using it less. Do you want to spend more time focusing on other things? Spend less time mindlessly scrolling through your feed? Get off of social media altogether? Once you know your goal, you can start working towards it.
Set some ground rules
To help yourself stick to your goals, set some ground rules for your social media use. This could mean only allowing yourself to check your favorite app for a few minutes each day or not using social media at all during certain hours or days. Whatever works best for you, make sure your rules are specific and realistic so that you can stick to them.
Find other ways to stay connected
If you're worried about missing out on what's happening with your friends and family, find other ways to stay connected with them that don't involve social media. This could mean picking up the phone or meeting up in person more often. You might be surprised at how much better you feel when you disconnect from your online world and connect with the people around you in real life.
Take a break
If you're finding it hard to stick to your goals or feeling overwhelmed by social media, take a break from it for a while. This doesn't mean you have to give it up entirely, but a break can help you reset your relationship with it. When you're ready to start using social media again, you can do so with a more positive and intentional mindset.
Be kind to yourself
The most important thing to remember is that you're not perfect, and neither is your social media use. If you slip up or spend more time on social media than you'd like, don't be too hard on yourself. Just pick yourself up and start again, knowing that you can achieve your goals if you keep trying.
While social media addiction isn't technically a "real" addiction, it can still be problematic. That's because, like any other addiction, it can lead to some pretty negative consequences. So, if you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds for hours on end, it might be time to take a step back and reassess your relationship with social media. It's also important to seek professional help if you think you can't do it alone. Trust us, your mental health will thank you for it!