Do you love checking your phone or social media every so often to see what’s in the notifications? The line between over usage and social media addiction is so blurry, it’s often difficult to know which side of it you’re on. Get all the answers here!
Hey! Imagine a time when there were no smartphones, no social media, apps, no notifications popping up every second and nothing to swipe endlessly. This is the year 2006, just a decade ago, but it’s already nearly impossible to imagine, right?
With the booming technology and latest attention-grabbing apps coming up every day, it has become impossible to stay away from the phone and social media. The world of not only Gen Z and millennials but even every generation revolves around their phones. Saying that, I remember a message I read recently, “Your phone has replaced your calendar, camera and alarm clock, don’t let it replace your family.” True it is, we often don’t bother about people sitting around when on social media. These days social media has taken over the lives of people.
Social media has both pros and cons. It allows people to stay connected and makes things more efficient and also a good source of entertainment. But how much is too much? Do we really need to be a social media addict? Can’t we just stay away from it? And how much time spent on social media is actually called an addiction? Let’s check it out!
What is Social Media Addiction
Addiction is a term given to a bad habit that becomes a part of your lifestyle, your daily routine and that you find difficult to quit until it starts affecting your life adversely. Similarly, social media addiction is the habit of spending too much time on social media.
There is absolutely no problem in taking a glance a few times a day at different social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Twitter, Tinder and such hundreds of them. But, spending a majority of your time on them is definitely harmful and in case you’re doing that, be ready to be called an addict!
Why is Social Media Addictive
Yes, I agree that social media is ruling the lives of people and especially teenagers but what makes it so addictive? Let’s check out.
Mostly, social media is designed to be addictive. Most are started as tiny startups, so their success depends on how many users download the app or how long they use it for. So to decrease the chances of failure, apps are designed with a “stickability factor” meaning what makes the user stick to the app, not close it. Yes, it’s not you, it’s them! Here are some other factors:
1. The ease of access and zero cost makes it more common to be used by people of all ages, financial or ethnic backgrounds.
2. Good internet connectivity and low-cost data plans makes one keep drooling over it quite often. If the app or the social media sites would take a long time to load or always have problems in loading, then no one would even bother to use the app.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) makes social checking a habit.
3. You wanna see the notification as soon as it pops up and like or comment on any post of your friends on social media. Not checking gives the feeling like you’re missing out on something important that has been posted.
4. Social media addiction often stems from instant gratification and the ability to portray a better, cooler version of ourselves. It makes one feel more popular as days pass by. When you post photos or stories to your timeline, the number of likes or comments you get, makes you feel special and loved, even if it’s by unknown people.
5. Social media sites allow a person to post anything they like with no restrictions at all! It gives one the freedom of speech and expression which makes it addictive.
6. It lets us update our whereabouts and make our friends know all of them! In this way, we always want to stick to the phone and keep updating. (Not that we want to know where we are but more on the side of making them jealous).
7. It helps us entertain ourselves separately even when we have company.
Signs of Social Media Addiction
It’s fairly common that some people rather than going to a place and enjoying there, they are more excited about what post they’re gonna share! Similarly there are more signs which will help you know if you’re a addict or not!
1. If checking social media apps is the first thing you do in the morning and last thing at night, then consider this as a sign of social media addiction.
2. Feeling underwhelmed if your stories on social media got too few likes is a sign. Waiting for the likes or comments as soon as you post is another sign.
3. Urge to stay online and chat with friends, look at the post when a notification pops up are a few signs that you’re badly addicted to social media and it’s time you get back to real life!
4. If you check the apps even when doing high concentration tasks like crossing a road, then this is a sign that you’re an addict.
5. Another sign of social media addiction is checking the social media while doing your basic daily chores. How can one check the phone while cooking or brushing the teeth? Isn’t it weird?
6. When there’s no internet connectivity, you feel lost and anxious – this is also a sign of addiction. Freaking out if you want to post something on Insta and you’re not able to do it.
7. If you feel that every food you eat, along with going it into your body should also be a post on Twitter, Facebook and what not all!
Effects of Social Media Addiction
1. Firstly, it strains your eyes and neck in the long run. Overuse of social media may be more helpful than, say, working on the laptop as passing time can often make us forget track of time. It’s common behavior to be browsing in a wrongful posture or keeping it too close to our eyes.
2. Most of the people use social media apps at night before going to sleep. Because of such high-intensity white light, our mind gets tricked into thinking that it may be daytime and this effects the sleeping patterns and our health.
3. The fear of missing out (FOMO), also gives a common feeling of restlessness where even when we keep ourselves away from social media, we feel anxious about missing important notifications, messages or news.
4. We tend to have more digital friends and neighbors than the real ones. This creates a feeling of loneliness in offline life.
5. When people share their happy stories, it may make others feel jealous. This can lead to a state of depression or low self-esteem, for everyone, as everyone tends to share only their best on social media.
6. Social media lowers our self-control, self-confidence and by seeing what other people are doing we try to imitate them and this affects our creativity.
How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media
Influencer marketing agency, Mediakix, estimates the grand total is somewhere near five years and four months on an average life-span of 70 years. That makes it to 12 days a year and 2 hours a day! And for teens, it’s much more than this! So, if you’re spending more than 2 hours a day on social media, then no doubt you’re a social media addict!
Also, Telegraph blog mentions, “The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day, accounting for 28pc of the total time spent on the internet.” How sad this sounds! Out of 15 working hours of the day, we spend 2 hours in just straining our eyes and in the end being called an addict!
Sadly, even two hours seem too less if a typical millennial or Gen Z access their daily life. If we count all the time spent daily listening to podcasts, browsing youtube videos, reading and replying to WhatsApp messages, and Instagramming every detail of our lives, the number will be double or even more! For most of the youth (people aged 13-35), social media is a part of after-office hours, cooking hours, socializing and commute time, and even toilet and work time in a lot of cases!!
Social Media Addiction Facts
HuffPost and Kix blog mention:
1. 96% of teens go online at least once a day and 56% go several times.
2. One-third of the global population is active on social media. It sounds crazy!
3. 71% of people sleep with their phone next to them so that using it could be the first thing in the morning.
4. 71% of people use more than one social media app.
5. Young and single females seem to be more addicted to social media.
6. 210 million people are known to suffer from social media addiction.
These facts have really moved me! Are people that crazy about social media? Thank god I’m not one of them and make sure you’re not either!
Social Media Addiction Solution
1. Stay away from your phone when you’re going for walk or working. In this way, you’ll be able to concentrate on your work more and also cut off the screentime.
2. Turn off the notifications and this will help you a lot by keeping your eyes away from the phone.
3. If you feel that too much free time is driving you to be a social media addict, then learn a new hobby. This will even make you happy that you’re doing something fruitful, and give a feeling of accomplishment.
4. Limit yourself to a certain amount of time and after the time’s up no matter what, keep it away.
5. Interact with people in the offline more than with your social media friends. In this way, you’ll feel less lonely in real life.
6. Get to know what’s making you so addicted to social media and this way you will get to know yourself more and minimize the social media time.
Future of Social Media Addiction
As Shilpa says, whenever something is new, people get obsessed with it and as time goes on, things become an embedded part of our lives. Then they don’t have to consume our attention all the time and make us feel more at ease. Afterall, the goal is to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness and give ourselves a time of purpose.
So, maybe that’s the case with social media! The present generation is so used to it, but will the future generations even care about it with technology growing so much more? I don’t think so! Just like how television, video games, play stations, etc. were a big thing back then, people now don’t even have to think or worry about their existence. They’ve just become a part of our lives, but not addictive. So would be the case with social media!
So, hope you found our guide helpful. Are you a social media addict? How much time do you like spending on social media? by tweeting @shilpa1ahuja.
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