What’s the first thing that you do in the morning? The last thing you do before going to bed? What about everything in between?
The sad fact is that far too many people are getting – or are already – addicted to social media. While this addiction may be related to one’s personality, other factors do not help at all.
We have mobile phones and tablets on hand at all times. Cellular data allows us to check in, post a status, tweet, leave a comment, take a photo and upload, and so much more – anywhere and anytime.
No wonder people spend far too much time on social media.
Here’s an infographic from late 2014 that will give you an idea how many people use social media and how much. These numbers surely have increased significantly by now.
If you see yourself and your habits reflected in the data above, perhaps it’s time to think about how much social media is part of your life – and how much of your life is spent on social media. While it is not bad in itself, too much of anything is no good. If you can’t stand an hour or two (or even three) without checking your social media accounts, you may have social media addiction.
How do you break free from social media addiction?
Here are a few things that you can do. However, these are only steps to guide you. At the end of the day, your desire and willpower will determine your success or not.
It’s not totally your fault.
Now don’t go ahead pointing fingers at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You still are responsible for your actions, but studies have shown that these social networks follow “a science” to hook users in – and keep them hooked. In an article published by Medical Daily, Facebook addition is compared to drugs – the same areas in the brain are activated.
Use this fact as a motivator to limit your time on social media.
You’re being played. Why would you want that? Don’t let them play you.
Set your boundaries.
The best way to do this is to create your own set of rules and follow them. For example, make it a rule not to reach for your phone the moment you open your eyes. Instead, find an alternative. Go to the bathroom and wash your face – which is probably what you did before anyway.
What if I use my phone as an alarm clock, you may ask. Have you heard of the good old alarm clock?
Make it a rule to put your phone face down and on silent mode before you settle in for the night. Use Do Not Disturb mode if you use an iPhone. This way, if you’re worried about an important call or message from a family member going unnoticed at night, you will have peace of mind.
Don’t let social media be your “I don’t have anything to do” activity.
What do you do when you’re bored? You probably go check what your friends are up to on Facebook. Look at photos. Check your Twitter feed.
Many people use social media as a default when they’re bored.
Think back to the times when there were no social media platforms. What did you do when you were bored? Try going back to that.
Turn off notifications.
You may not have the urge to go online at the moment, but suddenly, you see a notification pop up on your phone. We know how that goes.
This will really help you break free from social media addiction: turn off notifications for all your accounts. This is how my phone is set up, and it has done wonders for me.
Take things further and turn off desktop notifications as well.
Consciously and purposely disconnect.
This may be difficult in the beginning, much like a drug addict on withdrawal. However, if you purposely disconnect for periods of time, you will realize that you do not need social media so much.
You can start by deciding not to go online for the first half of the day. Alternatively, decide not to check in on Saturdays – or the whole weekend. When you go on vacation, limit your social media time to before going to bed.