Social media usage has become a regular part of our daily lives; so much so that more and more people are becoming addicted to it. Like any addiction, it has harmful effects to our overall health. Even so, we must accept the fact that this product of modern technology is not going away anytime soon and people are going to continue using it for a very long time.
The technology itself is not harmful, at least it is not intended to be so, but the way people use it is what causes the negative effects. To prevent and reduce the negative effects of social media addiction, we need to manage how we use it. There are many ways you can start breaking your social media addiction that you can apply immediately.
1. Set a Time Limit
You need not quit it altogether but you can spend less time checking your social media accounts every day. Set a time in the morning and in the afternoon to check. Give yourself at least an hour to do so and then stop and do something else. Schedule the activity like you would any task you need to do throughout the day so you can manage your time efficiently and reduce the time you spend on it without feeling deprived.
Also, try not to schedule it first thing in the morning or before you go to bed so it doesn’t disrupt the more important things in your daily routine.
2. Define Its Purpose
One way of limiting your addiction to social media is to change how you use it. Give it a purpose that should benefit you. Ask yourself why do you go on social media? Do you go to it to check for news or mainly to chat with friends and family? Is it part of your job or a major part of building your career or business?
Once you have defined your main purpose for keeping your social media account, stick to that purpose and use the platform only for that purpose. This way, you don’t waste time checking your profile if you are not fulfilling a certain purpose.
3. Go To Other Online Sources
The Internet is a big place and if your are using social media to get your news, then you are missing out on the bigger picture. Next time, instead of checking your social media feed, why not use a search engine to find what you’re looking for online and go to the website of the original source instead? This way, you are introduced to other sources of information that may not be popularly shared on social media.
Remember that social media posts are designed to “go viral”, to catch the most attention. This is a good marketing strategy for big companies but it may not represent the most accurate details or information about a certain topic and other topics that may also be related to it.
4. Step Away from Your Device
Yes, our mobile phones have become a security blanket for most of us and it is one of the most important things that we need to take with us when we leave the house. We carry it with us everywhere, almost like it’s our lifeline. To some extent it is but it need not be so.
To break away from social media addiction, it is important to schedule a down-time daily. Get away from your phone or even turn it off and indulge in mindfulness habits; spend time for some self love or spend time with a loved one and be fully present in the moment.
Also, when in places that require turning off your phone, like a movie theater, do so or at least put it in silent mode and turn on vibrate if you need it to be on all the time. It is not only polite to do so, it is also one way to actually enjoy being a social animal with your fellow human being without having your face glued to a small screen. Focus on enjoying the bigger screen and appreciate the actual, bigger picture.
5. Go on A Social Media Detox
Just like taking a vacation from work, you should also take a vacation from drowning in social media; you can even do both at the same time. Yes, you can still take your phone on your travels. Use your phone to take great vacation pictures, to search locations and where best to eat but don’t check or post to you social media pages while you’re on vacation. (Unless it’s your job to do so, but that’s a different story.) Unplug, disconnect and go offline for the time being.
Not only will this detox you from social media addiction, it will also allow you to fully enjoy your vacation experience without the pressure of having to stay updated. You can always post your vacation pics once you’re back from your escapade. This also means that you and your vacation buddies can stay safe from any lurking scammers or people with ill-intent who might be stalking your whereabouts so they can take advantage of you.
Social media is a convenient way to connect with people but too much of anything can do more harm than good. Manage how you use your social media accounts wisely so you can conveniently stay connected with the things that matter to you but still be actually present to keep in touch with your social connections in the real world.