Signs of Social Media Addiction and How To Break Free From It

How to kill your social media addictionSocial media addiction can affect your daily life. It starts out innocently enough. You set up social media accounts to keep in touch with friends and to know what’s going on outside your four walls (basic needs like food, shelter, transportation, and utilities). Soon though, you develop a social media habit that takes up a big chunk of your waking hours. Also, now that you can’t imagine your world without it, you most probably have an addiction to social media.

Signs of Social Media Addiction

But wait…

Before we go over the signs, what is an addiction?

“Addiction is a medical condition characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.” Source: Wikipedia

Note: We are not implying that doing any of the things in the list below makes you a social media addict. Rather, if you do a lot of them or feel that you are an addict, then it’s possible that you may just be. So this list is somewhat of a guide for your understanding of social media addiction.

Here are some signs that you may be a social media addict:

  1. The first thing you do when you wake up, and the last thing you do before going to sleep at night is check your mobile device for the latest social media updates. You also feel uneasy when you’re unable to check social media every hour.
  2. You post a “selfie” everyday.
  3. You post multiple or too many status updates everyday. You use Facebook as your diary to record all your day’s activities, thoughts, and interactions.
  4. You post photos of your meals, whether you’re at home, in a fast food restaurant or fine dining restaurant. Also, you have strict instructions for your companions; they are not to touch the food until you have finished taking photos of each and every dish.
  5. You “check in” everywhere to let everyone know where you are. Whether you are at the grocery, gym, restaurant, movie theater, train station, doctor’s office, etc.
  6. You send a friend request to every relative, friend, classmate, schoolmate, workmate, and neighbour you’ve ever had.
  7. You get offended when someone doesn’t immediately respond to your friend request.
  8. You like your own updates.
  9. You get offended when nobody likes or comments on your status updates.
  10. You can’t stay away from social media even at work or school.
  11. You think a person who doesn’t have a social media account is really weird, or really old.
  12. You think it’s the end of the world when there’s no Internet access or any one of the social media sites are down.

Visiting social media sites many times a day is not alarming in itself. That’s long been considered normal and these days; you can get the best world news or updates quicker from social media websites. It’s when your habit interferes with your daily life that it becomes a problem.

Breaking Free From Social Media Addiction

If you feel that you’ve been spending your days with mindless social media activity, it’s time to kick your social media addiction out and reclaim your life. Getting off this bad habit won’t be an easy process, especially if you’ve been doing this for a long time. But it’s certainly doable.

Here’s how to break free from your social media addiction:

  1. Change your device settings. Turn off social media notifications on your mobile devices. If it’s on, you’ll just feel compelled to respond every time, and then you’ll have to read your newsfeed again. Next thing you know, you’ve been on Facebook for two straight hours.
  2. Limit the number of social media apps installed in your mobile devices. Delete some of them. Most of the sites contain the same information anyway.
  3. Set aside time for social media and stick to it. Maybe thirty minutes to an hour a day is enough for you to check everyone’s update.
  4. Stay off social media during meals, when in bed, when in the bathroom, or when commuting.
  5. Observe a social media free day, if not a total digital detox. Start with setting aside one day a month without checking social media. See how you feel at the end of the day. Do you really need to know all the information that you get from social media? Also, if you find this to be something that you can do easily, you might want to do this once a week.
  6. Instead of constantly checking and posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, find something productive to do. Organize your messy closet. Do some gardening. Do the things you’ve been neglecting to do for the longest time because of your social media addiction.
  7. Have a purpose for checking social media sites. You usually check these sites when you don’t have anything better to do. Make sure that you’re looking for something specific when you do check social media, like wanting to see your cousin’s wedding photos. If you don’t have a specific reason, stay off and find something else to do.
  8. Respond to people offline. If your friendships on social media are as meaningful or more so in real life, then make an effort to respond to people offline. Call family and friends on the phone to greet them happy birthday, or invite them out for coffee to catch up on what’s happening in their lives.

When you become so absorbed with status updates that you neglect school, work or family responsibilities, or worse…

Withdraw from people in real life, your social media addiction now becomes a major cause for concern. It may be time to seek professional help in order to reclaim a healthy, productive life.

Side Note: Organizations or companies that want to control social media access to employees should consult IT service experts that know how to set PC access permissions.

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