Access To Valuable Credible Information And Resources
Social media is particularly valuable in times where face-to-face interaction isnt safe, and to people who live in remote areas, are unable to engage with others due to social anxiety, or who are part of a marginalized, disenfranchised group. However, these positive aspects can benefit anyone who uses these platforms.
- Negative Aspects of Social Media
Social medias positive aspects may seem promising, but these platforms may have a long-term on your mental health. In addition, many people engage in dangerous or hateful activities on social media, contributing to feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation.
Some of the most negative aspects of social media include the following.
Use Positive Reinforcement To Build Better Social Media Habits
Like Jones suggested, using an app or Apple’s Screen Time feature on your phone is a good first step for being more mindful of your social media usage. You may be surprised how much time scrolling Instagram can add up. According to Jones, it can be helpful to evaluate this time and choose something more positive and intentional you’d rather fill your time with .
If you decide to fill your former social media time with a new activity, like say reading, it will take a few weeks for the new habit to set in. It’s totally normal to sit down to read and feel the urge to check social media for a while. But, it’s best to commit to your routine and try not to break it for at least three to four weeks, according to Jones.
“From a behavioral point of view, doing something for three weeks or at least 21 days will allow you to form a new habit. You really are rewiring a certain part of your brain when you try it,” Jones said. And Jones said it’s helpful to add in a positive activity, instead of just telling yourself or others that you’re cutting down on social media.
“The best way to reinforce behavior is to do more of it. So instead of saying, ‘I’m not going to do social media’, you can say ‘I’m working on being more present.’ So you want to be affirming healthy, positive things that you’re doing,” Jones said.
Be Mindful Of Time Spent On Social Media
Potter recognizes that social media is a very powerful forcepowerful enough to make users lose all sense of time. To counter this, she suggests setting a time limit before scrolling through your various social media feeds. Use an actual timer to indicate when your browsing time is up, she says. Otherwise its very easy to continue down the rabbit hole of information. No egg timer handy? Try setting a calendar reminder on your smartphone or desktop.
Learn about the potential risks ofsecondhand screen time.
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Be Strict About Limiting Your Time
First and foremost, you should restrict your time on social media. In the very beginning it is best to abstain altogether. Once the timing is appropriate, social media may be used but in extremely limited quantities. A time frame of 15 minutes is appropriate to avoid returning to a problem.9 Using a timer, social media limiting app, or someone to monitor your use is recommended at this point.
Raising Awareness And Increasing Our Understanding Of The Problem
The main and first thing we can do to improve our relationship with technology, is simply this:
To raise our awareness about the possible negative consequences of digital technology usage.
How do we do that? Glad you asked. We do this by doing what youre doing right now: reading about it, finding more information about it doing your own research .
Next to that, its imperative we take action. Sustained action towards change in behavior is helped by two things next to awareness about the problem and the motivation to do something about it:
1. social support, and
2. designing your environment.
More on these in the next section of this article.
Talk to the people around you about the problem, share thoughts and discuss ways you can try to change your behavior and help each other in the process. Next to that: put your phone out of sight, change your settings, and use its pings and dings to your advantage for instance by setting timers and alarms to tell you to take a break and go for a stroll.
Use the capabilities of digital technologies to your advantage, not the tech companies.
My book Life Beyond the Touch Screen you can get it here as an e-book is a meditational booklet designed to increase our consciousness around the impact of digital technology on our lives as individuals, in organizations and society. I understand from readers its also a great conversation starter. It might help.
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How To Get Help For A Loved One
Getting help for a loved one requires a similar procedure but should be done collaboratively. It will require a serious conversation in which you tactfully state your concerns and extend your support. The match among the type of treatment, therapist, and your loved one is critical, so it is imperative that your loved one has a say. If desired, ride along together to the first appointment . It may even be appropriate, when the timing is right, to attend a session together, so you can learn how to offer even more support.
Ways To Overcome Social Media Addiction
1. Take away the convenience – Modify a feature on the device
Research also shows that constantly dinging notifications trigger our brainâs reward system . Seeing notifications on our screens makes them extremely hard to resist, which ultimately can lead us down another black hole of checking social media. Similarly, the convenience of our smartphones is a big part of what makes social media so appealing and addictive. The same researchers in support of turning off notifications also suggest only checking social media on your desktop or laptop as you are less likely to always have it on you . Aside from less convenience, social media sites often have limited desktop versions. Without certain features available to you, you will feel less of an urge to continuously be on the site. Other ways to take away the convenience through modifications include putting your phone on airplane mode or leaving it on âdo not disturbâ/mute. While these may seem like straightforward strategies, research has shown that they are the most practical and easy to begin with if you are serious about limiting your screen time.
2. You don’t need to give it up completely – Prevent partial access
3. Encourage good behaviors – Limit social media use to a specific time
4. Be open about it – Self talk and acknowledge social media addiction
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Social Media Addiction In Teens And Young Adults
Social media addiction is a behavioral disorder in which teens or young adults become enthralled by social media and are unable to reduce or cease their consumption of online media despite clear negative consequences and severe drawbacks. While many teenagers engage in some form of online media on a daily basis , teen social media addiction is characterized by the combination of an excessive media consumption, an increasing reliance on social media as a way to feel good, and an inability to stop or curb this behavior despite suffering losses in friendship, decreased physical social engagement, and a negative impact at school.
Feelings Of Inadequacy And Fomo
Since people tend to share only the highlights of their lives on social media, these platforms can skew our feelings about ourselves. A constant barrage of content from other people who seem to be living a better life than you do or have a more conventionally attractive appearance can impact your mental health.
These feelings can also contribute to the fear of missing out, or FOMO. While FOMO is not a new phenomenon, seeing others enjoying events or living a more exciting life can trigger feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem and may compel you to pick up the phone more often.
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How Is Social Media Addiction Treated
Social media addiction treatment is available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Your decision will ultimately be based upon your individual needs and circumstances. While residential rehab is considered to be the most effective form of treatment for social media addiction, clinics like CATCH Recovery offer exceptional outpatient addiction treatment.
Effective treatment for any addiction consists of a medical detox where necessary. However, for behavioural addictions such as social media, where no substances are involved, an intensive form of psychological therapy is required.
Treating the psychological aspects of addiction will provide you with the tools you need to maintain long-term sobriety. Psychological dependence is the term used to describe the emotional and mental components of substance use disorder. This is usually characterised by a strong compulsion to participate in a particular behaviour and the inability to function normally without doing so.
CATCH Recovery uses evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy , grief and trauma therapy, one-to-one counselling sessions, group therapy and online therapy. We also teach relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation which can help with managing stressful situations such as the compulsion to engage in certain behaviours.
Recognizing A Social Media Addiction: Smartphone Addiction Tests
The second thing we can do is to assess if we or the person that we think is at risk, might actually have a serious problem.
Heres a quick, global assessment you can take right away, from the US Addiction Center website:
If youre worried that someone may be at risk of developing an addiction to social media, ask yourself these six questions:
- Does he/she spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
- Does he/she feel urges to use social media more and more?
- Does he/she use social media to forget about personal problems?
- Does he/she often try to reduce use of social media without success?
- Does he/she become restless or troubled if unable to use social media?
- Does he/she use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on his/her job or studies?
If you answered yes to more than three of these questions, then you may have or be developing a social media addiction.
- If you want to take a more sound and slightly more conclusive test, you might want to check out this Nomophobia test based on research from Iowa State University, or:
- This test by Dr. David Greenfield, at the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction.
Both of these tests have a scientific basis and are simple to use. Answer the questions and tally up your scores to get a decent indication of whether you or someone you care about indeed has a serious addiction to technology, their smartphone, and/or social media.
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Social Media Use Statistics
Given that social media addiction is a relatively new phenomenon, long-term studies are limited. It is because of this limited research that social media addiction has yet to be formally recognized. What we have been able to gather, however, is that increased time spent on social media increases the likelihood of developing a problem.
Here are several statistics from the 2021 Pew Research study on social media use:2
- 72% of US adults say they use at least one social media site
- 84% of US adults 18-29 use social media
- 81% of US adults 30-49 use social media
- 73% of US adults 50-64 use social media
- Among US adults who say they use Facebook, 70% use it daily
- Among US adults who say they use Instagram, 59% use it daily
- As the numbers indicate, there is a strong correlation between active users and daily use. The more one uses social media, the greater the risk of forming an addiction.
Social Media Addiction Treatment
Social media addiction is treatable with therapy and behavior modification. Note that due to social media addiction not yet being formally recognized as a diagnosable condition, many insurance companies and other managed care organizations do not offer reimbursement. Consequently, treatment specific to this condition may require patients to pay out of pocket.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy :CBT continues to remain one of the top preferred treatment methods. The therapist and patient work together to correct faulty beliefs, rid negative thoughts, and think before reacting. By doing this, you stand a much better chance of moving onward and fighting the urge to log in.
- Dialectical behavior therapy :DBT is like CBT but includes the additional component of mindfulness. By being mindful of your environment as well as what youre thinking and doing, you can work through triggers and other challenges. DBT also includes a group component and weekly phone sessions with the therapist on top of outpatient visits.
- Inpatient treatment: Although it is likely that you may work through social media addiction by attending outpatient therapy and support groups, more severe cases may require residential treatment. In the case of residential treatment, patients will be removed from their everyday environment while having restricted access to the Internet.
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Be Aware Of The Triggers That Make You Want To Use Social Media:
There are certain things that can trigger the urge to use social media. For example, boredom, loneliness, or procrastination. If you know what your triggers are, you can be more prepared to avoid them. When youre bored, try reading a book or taking a walk. When youre feeling lonely, call a friend or family member. And when youre procrastinating, try focusing on the task at hand instead of scrolling through social media. In addition, being aware of your triggers can help you be more mindful of your social media use in general.
Social Media: Mental Health Effects And Side Effects
A causal link is generally difficult to prove, but at least in one study among 143 students at the University of Pennsylvania, social media were proven to have a causative effect on depression and feelings of loneliness.
- Find a more extensive summary of research findings here.
We can all but equate smartphone addiction to social media addiction most of our usage of our smartphones comes from the usage of social media, as mentioned before, and most of that usage goes to the five major ones being , Whatsapp,
Does that mean digital technology in general, and social media specifically, are evil? The technology in and of itself is, of course, neutral.
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Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
How To Get Rid Of Social Media Addiction
So, how do you take back the reins of your life and curb your time on social media ? Here are some steps to get started.
1. Think About Why Youd Like to Be on Social Media
Everything we do in life is about intention: why do you want to do something? What will it bring you? The same goes for social media use. It may be silly to ask this question when thinking about a Facebook or Instagram account, but if you want to truly control your social media , asking this question may truly be eye-opening.
Do you want to just keep in touch with friends, or do you want to promote your business? Getting to the crux of why youre online will help you clearly mark your time on social media effectively and eliminate everything else.
2. Be Meticulous About Who You Follow and what you post and share
Attention is your greatest currency.
Everything that you click on or like becomes a thread in the tapestry of what comes back to you on social media newsfeeds. You want to create the kind of information spread that works for you, your needs, and your time. So, often, we impulsively follow people who may not be serving our best interests.
Give yourself permission to clean those contacts out every once in a while! Its okay to disagree with someone. Instead of plummeting into a rabbit hole of social media thread arguments, unfollow anyone who you dont connect with. Its much better for your mental health and helps you get rid of social media addiction.
3. Curb the Time You Spend Online
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Turn Off Your Social Media Notifications
When it comes to stepping back from your phone, Do Not Disturb is your best friend. When you stop notifications from disturbing your normal routine, you might find it easier to concentrate on your daily tasks and not get distracted so easily. Social media notifications are a constant reminder that something is happening in the online world and you might feel like you’re missing out. So to quell your FOMO, turn off your notifications. The bonus is, when you do come around to check your social media, you may have a build-up of more notifications which will make it more exciting and will make the experience more rewarding.
Need A Digital Detox 5 Tips To Unplug
Digital detox is an agreed-upon period of time where individuals, companies, families, or other groups pledge to put down their phones and step away from their computers so they can concentrate on conversation, activities, learning new skills, and just generally being more aware of the concrete world around them.
But we have to start somewhere. Try these small and realistic changes:
- Stop using your phone as an alarm. Instead, use an actual alarm clock. Its just as handy and can help you stay off your mobile device before bed.
- Turn off notifications. Do you really need Twitter and Facebook updates throughout the day?
- Monitor the amount of time you spend on your device. Apps like Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing can help you control your daily usage. Set a reasonable time frame and stick to it. Maybe only one hour on your phone after dinner? Try a morning routine without any technology. Start with just a couple of times a week.
- Stick to one device at a time dont use your phone while watching TV, using an iPad, or computer.
- Try not to revert to your phone in awkward social situations. And dont check your texts while in the middle of a conversation.
- Above everything else: Make sure you arent answering a quick text or using the web when you drive.
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