Social media today has become an intricate part of our daily lives. From beginning our day with social media to ending it by knowing what happened in the world, social media has established its foot in our lives. When social media is bearing such an important role in our lives then having social media addiction shouldn’t be a surprise as well. 4.57 billion people use social media today. That is more than half the world! Assuming that a good percentage of people would be suffering from social media wouldn’t be wrong.
Social media addiction plays us using our curiosity. The desire to know what’s going in other’s life is what makes social media platforms so addictive. The addiction is so aggravating sometimes that you cannot function properly some days.
Technology is evolving and social media platforms are working continuously to play people’s FOMO and deepen their roots in us thus it is very necessary to identify if we have social media addiction and if we do, how to fight social media addiction.
How to identify you are suffering from social media addiction?
As clichéd as it sounds when you have social media addiction you know you have it. You just have to accept that you have social media addiction. But still here are a few definitive signs that it’s not just normal social media use but indeed an addiction.
- You wake up to search for your mobile device and check for messages or likes on your social media even before turning on your lights. You don’t get out of bed, don’t wash your face, and don’t wear spectacles but jump in straight to social media. What is a more conclusive symptom of social media addiction?
- You find the compulsive need to always take your mobile device to washrooms and toilets to check your messages and notification.
- You can’t eat any food before clicking five different pictures from five different angles even if your food is getting cold. When you have social media addiction you may not be satisfied with the food you eat but the likes, comments, and shares on your food pictures fill you enough.
- While clicking pictures of food and other things still remain a priority, you spend hours and a lot of energy trying to make your post look good with perfect caption and editing for your “friends” and if you don’t get the response you expected, you feel upset and anxiety kicks in.
- Anywhere you go, anything you buy, or anything you watch, you can’t just do it by yourself. When you have social media addiction you have to let everyone know what you are up to so that you are liked and approved by them.
- Social media addiction has spread its roots so deep that you are beginning to use social media language in your normal conversation. Your responses to jokes have become LOL instead of actual laughs and saying ‘hashtag yada yada’ has also become common.
- Going to a place with no WIFI or a place with low network connectivity is most excruciating and painful for you. The pain and helplessness you feel in your gut because you can’t post anymore or know how many likes you got or can’t check-in and show your ‘friends’ is the worst kind of torment for you.
- If you can relate to most of the phenomenon in the list then you would want to sit for a while and introspect.
How do you fix an addiction?
You fix an addiction by fixing the cause rather than its effects. Social media addiction is a type of internet addiction and to fight social media addiction you need to find the cause of it in the first place. Also always remember, you weren’t addicted to social media in one day, similarly it won’t go away in one day as well.
Here are some of the best ways to fight social media addiction:
1. Ask yourself “Why do I use social media?”
To cure any addiction you need to find the cause and work on it. For finding the causes of your social media addiction ask yourself why do use social media? What do you do on social media the most? Is it chatting or connecting with family and friends, is it sharing memes and videos, is it learning something new or anything else. Answer honestly and once you do try finding viable alternatives. If you spend time chatting try using different methods for chatting or just call the person directly. If you like to watch videos, identify which type of videos you like the most and start learning more about it, not from social media but by reading about it or watching it live for yourself.
You just have to find a suitable alternative to the things you like to do on social media. You are not addicted to social media, you are addicted to the things and fun social media provides you. Find the proper medium for your interests and you won’t need to worry about addiction to social media anymore.
2. Find your interests and keep yourself busy
When do you use social media? Why has social media become an addiction? When you have nothing to do you crawl back to the arms of social media. You keep on scrolling because you have a lot of free time in hand. So how can you prevent social media addiction? Work and Work; keep yourself busy and never be vacant. This can be done by finding new interests or a new hobby. Follow your passions that you weren’t following because of a lack of time. Take the first step and begin. When you keep yourself busy then social media addiction is highly unlikely. You simply don’t have the time to indulge in scrolling and FOMO-ing.
Travel alone, start sketching, learn cooking, start working out, take new lessons, and learn new skills or anything you like. There are so many opportunities in the vast sea of possibilities. I am sure you’ll be able to find something that you love and fight your social media addiction.
3. Contact with everyone personally
There is so much nonsense in so social media. You don’t have to get affected by everything. Be close to people that are important to you in real life. Instead of commenting on their picture online, tell them they are beautiful in person. If you want to talk to a person instead of texting them using social media apps just call them and talk. It’s much better when you listen to their voice. Meet them and not just for the sake of clicking pictures and posting them. Forget that you have to show the world and just live in the moment. Keeping it real is what will help break social media addiction.
4. Accept that you have social media addiction.
A very important thing before overcoming an addiction is accepting that you have an addiction. How else would you work on it? Many people who suffer from social media addiction find it hard to accept that they can be addicted to such a thing. Is social media addictive? Yes, social media dependency has increased so much that it has become an addiction. Neuroscientists have compared cocaine to a syringe of dopamine being injected straight to the system. Accept that you have social media addiction; it is much more common and it’s not your fault. Once you accept it, its half battle done. You’ll at least know what you are fighting against and why you are doing it in the first place.
5. Never ask “how to stop using social media?” : it doesn’t work!
Addiction doesn’t end just because you want to. It is called addiction for a reason! Social media addiction is a type of media addiction. You can’t just stop using social media. I am sure you must have tried deleting the applications and deactivating your accounts. Was it of any help? I am sure your answer is no because this isn’t the right way to break this addiction. We are social beings and thus need to be connected to our friends, family, peers, and the people we look up to. Instead of trying to delete social media from your lives trying to improve the quality of your life. Find something that is worth keeping you away from your social media but doesn’t do this by deleting it completely. You’ll keep crawling back to it. Instead, try t use it in a balanced and dignified way.
6. Start small and make a schedule
Now since we know you shouldn’t delete social media for breaking social media addiction you must think about how to overcome addiction to social media. One of the best ways to solve this addiction is to start slow and make a proper schedule for social media use. Start by bringing small changes in your schedule like working for an hour after waking up and then looking at your mobile. At first, the unfamiliar routine will be very unpleasant but you have to resist the temptation. That’s why small changes are recommended.
Also, have a proper schedule for your social media use. Schedule it for 5 to 10 minutes every hour and do not break the schedule. Slowly and steadily you will get used to this and thus proper time management will help you cure your social media addiction.
7. Stop posting everything you are doing to the world
Posting all your activities on social media and getting approved online is the leading cause of social media addiction nowadays. You have to stop giving so much importance to the reel world than the real world. Whenever you post something on social media the chances of you going to check social media increases significantly and so does your addiction. You crave getting more likes, comments, and appreciation, and when they aren’t as you expected you get anxious and upset. You start checking it every other moment in hopes that now maybe you would have got something new.
Posting on social media everything also ruins the fun and doesn’t let you be in the moment. The world doesn’t need to do everything you do. It’s not necessary and people don’t really care!
8. Turn the notifications off
This is a remedy that I have personally tested and it does work! If you have ever wondered how to avoid social media ask yourself what drives you to look at your social media. If we look at the simplest answers then it’s the notifications. Every time you hear or see a notification your brain goes in a frenzy and you leave all your work to check that out. Try closing the notifications of all your social media applications and live the peace. When you don’t hear the pinging of your mobile it’s likely that you’ll forget checking out your social media.
In case you are worried about what happens if you miss out on an emergency. Well, what kind of emergency would you miss on social media? If there is actually an important issue I am sure the people who would need you would have your mobile number, isn’t it?
I even use it now. I have all the notifications turned off and sometimes I forget using social media the entire day: the best days! This is one of the easiest way.
9. Keep your mobile away from you for some time
Statistics on social media addiction show that 91%of all social media users access social media via mobile devices. So why not try avoiding the medium of your addiction for a while. Keep your mobile farther away from you at least while you are eating or doing some important work that doesn’t require the use of mobile.
While going to bed try to keep the mobile in another room or away from your reach so that you don’t start scrolling your social media as soon as you wake up. Social media addiction has crept in our schedule even before the day begins, thus try to avoid jumping in social media first thing in the morning.
10. Make your social media Boring
Why do keep scrolling social media? Why is social media so addictive? It is because it is a full package of entertainment and all the things that you like. You follow certain meme pages, DIY hack pages, and other things of your interest. Try to follow lesser things and people. Remove all the things that you spend hours scrolling. Unfollow all the meme pages, hack pages, those cute and dog pages, and other things that hold you and increases your social media addiction.
Once you do this you’ll see that there is nothing new that interest you. Every hour you return there will hardly be a few pictures of your friends or family. When nothing interesting is left why would you go back? This is also a very effective way to overcome social media addiction. Once you start getting bored you won’t like it as much.
Social media is an indispensable tool for keeping in touch with our near and dear ones but it leads us to compare your raw life to filtered and shiny feeds of others. It makes you think that why is it that only you are suffering from problems and why is life only harsh with you. Well, the reality is far different. Effects of social media addiction can be very minor to very devastating and fixing it would take a lot of time and effort but what has ever happened in the comfort zone? You will need to be tough and step out of your comfort zone. Hang in there and do all that you can do. It will get better soon.
There will be numerous times when you’ll find yourself going back into social media addiction. When you see yourself crawling back to the webs of addiction, always remember why you started taking efforts to break it in the first place and what you had to do to reach there. Remember your efforts and never cheat yourself!