Just like gambling, alcohol, and drugs, social media addiction seems harmless, but it is a growing problem that needs to be solved because the effect it brings can lead to depression, anxiety and more.
Whenever you receive notifications from social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, your brain will release a small amount of dopamine. This makes you feel good on a chemical level. Each time you see a notification, your brain gets excited.
And over the long term, this will form a habit and you will fall into the addictive behavior. What really happens is that you are relying on your smartphone and computer for social interaction instead of engaging in a face-to-face interaction. At the end of the day, you will feel isolated because your interactions are online and not in the physical world. This will lower your self-esteem.
It is the “reward” that is the most important neurological reason responsible for the compulsive usage of the social network. When the brain creates dopamine, it also creates the desire, so that the person will search for and want more of the reward from using social media.
How Social Media Addiction Affects Your Life
Social media has grown and become a big part of our daily life these days. People just cannot ignore the power of social media today. Even big companies are utilizing the power of social media to create their marketing channel to influence their audience.
Most people underestimate how social media can influence and affect their lives until it is too late to notice the effect and to change. Below are some other ways how this new interactive technology can affect your life:
People can say anything they want and still get away with it on the internet. This has led to cyberbullying, where people use the electronic communication to send messages in an intimidating or threatening nature.
Cyberbullying can be a serious issue where the victim can experience a huge amount of stress that leads to a decline in mental health. There are also cases where cyberbullying have led to suicide cases and caused death.
2. Distraction and Drop In Productivity
Many studies have found that the more people engage with social media, the less the person able to focus on his work. It leads to decreased productivity and increase in procrastination.
Furthermore, if you spend your most productive hours on social media, you will use up most of your willpower and energy there, this will make you less likely to have the motivation and energy to work on more important work when it is time to work.
3. Fatigue and Stress
When you are checking social media, you are constantly switching from one task to another because there are so many things to check out and to see. This information overload will wear out your brain power and make you feel fatigue.
Every time your brain thinks, you use your willpower and energy. And when you spend most of your time on social media, you are spending your energy there. Instead of using your downtime to rest, you use it to check updates on social media. As a result, your brain uses the energy to process information and stresses you out.
4. Peer Pressure and the Desire to Compare
People are afraid to miss out and they love to compare themselves with other people. You want to become part of the community and part of the group, this is why you are using the social network in the first place.
Over comparing yourself with other people will create anxiety and give rise to the negative feelings such as jealousy. This can evolve into a more serious issue and cause mental health disorder.
5. Other Related Health Issues
Apart from all that being mentioned, there will be other related health issues such as blurry vision due to eye strain as the result of long hours looking at the screen.
And if you are using social media from a cell phone, you may suffer back and neck pain issues as you have to consistently bend down your neck to look at your phone.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel. This is due to long hours of repeating the same movement with your hands and arms, especially when you use your phone or face the computer over a long period.
More importantly, if checking social media is the first and the last thing you did before bed, this routine will disturb your sleep and cause you to suffer side-effects from sleep deprivation.
How to Cure Social Media Addiction
Like all other illnesses and problems, there are cures and solutions to social media addiction. The key is to have the commitment to follow through some of the suggested steps below and make social media a tool that you can control rather than let it control your life.
Below are some useful suggestions on how you can cure social media addiction.
1. Get Rid of Notifications
One of the key factors people are getting addicted to social media is because they are often distracted by notifications.
In fact, notifications can act as a reminder to the users to check their phones or computers. Therefore, the most effective way to solve this is to turn off the notifications.
If social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter cannot notify you on any updates, there is a higher chance that you will not check on them. It is a great first step in getting rid of social media addiction.
Plus, if you always get distracted by notifications, you cannot concentrate well on your tasks at hand. It can cause negative feelings like stress and anger.
2. Limit Your Time Spent on Social Media
Choose to spend only 15 minutes a day on social media. You can check Facebook each day, but make sure you use only minimal time or only at a certain hour of the day.
You can set a rule such as “no social media in the office”. This way, you can focus on your work and improve your productivity. You will only use social media and check updates outside your office when you are out for lunch or during downtime. This technique can work extremely well if you stick to the rule and honor the promise to yourself.
3. Delete the Apps
Another crucial key people are addicted to social media is because of its convenience to access those platforms. No doubt that technology has brought conveniences to our lives, perhaps, too convenient until we indulge ourselves and lost ourselves in the world of online communication.
Once you have deleted the app, the only way to use social media is through your computer, which will be less convenient. This will directly lower down your desire to want to use them. This can be an effective way to seriously get rid of social media and can work as the ultimate solution for the addiction.
4. Disconnect and Unplug Yourself
Instead of deleting the app, choose to disconnect yourself from the internet or simply switch off your phone to get unplugged.
When you have no way to get access to the internet, you will never get the chance to use social media. In fact, most successful and productive people will get unplugged in the evening. They prefer to spend quality time with their loved ones than to mindlessly scroll Facebook for updates.
5. Never Bring Your Smartphone into Your Bedroom
Do you know that as much as 61% of people check their phones 5 minutes after they wake up according to Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey? And more than 96% will do that within an hour.
The study also found that as high as 74% of people will check their phones about 15 minutes before they go to sleep. This survey simply shows that most people will use their phone the first thing after they wake up and the last thing before they sleep.
Get yourself an alarm clock instead of using your phone as an alarm. And leave your phone in the living room or anywhere outside your bedroom.
Finally, understand that technology is there to help us move forward, it is not created to waste our time and make us less productive.
Social media can be a great way to connect with people, but you must not neglect the importance of physical communication with others, too. Never let these online social platforms take away your precious time or control your life, you should be the one that controls them as a tool.
If you find yourself spending too much time on social media and are addicted to it, follow the advice above, get rid of the disorder and gain back the control over your life.