How to reduce your social media addiction
September 23, 2020George Economides
If you've been anywhere near the internet recently, you've likely seen a lot of buzz about the recent Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. The documentary examines our relationship with social media, featuring interviews with tech experts who have worked everywhere from Facebook to YouTube to Pinterest.
Their message is clear: our use of social media is having an increasingly damaging impact on our social life. If you feel like you're becoming more and more addicted to social media, the documentary is a healthy reminder why it's necessary to take a step back from scrolling every so often.
The Social Dilemma expands on a conversation we've been having since Facebook's boom in 2012. A study from Harvard found that sharing personal information on social media taps into the "reward" center of our brain, triggering the same part that's tapped into when taking an addictive substance.
More recently, incidents like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the rise of fake news and hate speech triggered debates about the use or misuse of social media and the effects that may have in our everyday life
Our relationship with social media has changed just in the past year. Misinformation about COVID-19 on social media is nearly as ubiquitous as factual information from health experts to the point that one-in-four social media users see at least some truth in the conspiracy theory that coronavirus was "planned."
Therefore, the question that arises when you need a momentary social break is, if this will lead to a long-term addiction.
We, as a socially responsible Agency, put together a small guide to help you keep your social surfing responsible and disconnect you from your social addiction.
- Turn Off Your Notifications
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. Notifications are a constant reminder that something is happening in the online world and you might feel like you're missing out. So, turn off your notifications. The bonus is, when you do come around to checking your social media, you may have a buildup of more notifications which will make it more exciting and will make the experience more rewarding.
- Limit Yourself
Set a timer on your watch or phone, to limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Choose a limit depending on the severity of your addiction – say an hour a day, which equates to seven hours per week – and whenever you check your accounts, start your timer going. When you reach your limit, be strong and don't be tempted to add on extra time. This will be a test of your willpower, but it will be worth it in the end.
- Get A New Hobby
Try to use your free time on a different task. That will distract you and help you reduce your addiction. Also, as you may have more free time on your hands, it’s well worth picking up a new hobby to fill your spare time. You could learn a new skill or do something you've always wanted to do but never had the time.
- Check In With Friends And Family
Instead of keeping up-to-date with your friends' and family members' lives through their social posts, send them a text or give them a call. Even if you can't hang out in person safely, you can stay connected without tapping through Instagram Stories. Need to spice up your social life? Try arranging a weekly game night.
- Make It A Treat
Look at social media as a treat. You might not buy a bespoke coffee every day or get your nails done every week, but you may reward yourself with these kinds of small treats when you feel like you deserve it. So think of social media in the same way, only allow yourself screen time when you've achieved something or you've done something productive first. This way you might change the way you think about social media.
- Delete Apps You Don't Use
A common concept among experts in The Social Dilemma was to uninstall apps you aren't using often. Haven't checked Twitter in months? Take it off your phone. It'll remove the temptation, the notifications, and the temptation to scroll mindlessly. If you absolutely need to check it, there's always your laptop.
- Go Cold Turkey
Depending on how bad things have gotten, it might be time to go cold turkey. If you're spending more time on social media than you are interacting with people in real life, give yourself a reality check by having a holiday from social media. Decide how long it's going to be, inform your friends online how long you'll be away and how they can reach you if they need you in person, and delete your apps. If you normally spend a minimum of two hours on social media per day, you will have an extra fourteen hours per week which are totally free to do whatever you want with.
- Drop your smartphone
If you can’t fight the addiction and end up re-installing the abs on your phone then its time to go native. Drop your smart device and replace it with a place mobile phone. Keep your smart device at home and use your plain mobile phone when on the move or at work that way you will force yourself to only use social media at certain times when at home.
We at com2go are a socially responsible digital agency. We focus on producing socially responsible content for our clients and maintain a strict community acceptable social media content policy.