16 Feb Are you addicted to social media?
Social media has often been branded as a ‘revolution’. It has transformed the way we live and interact every single day. Did you know that if Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world? While social media definitely has its benefits for keeping in touch with loved ones, networking and growing a business, our day-to-day reliance on our social platforms can become unhealthy.
Social media addiction can be defined as compulsive use of any or all social media platforms. This use negatively impacts other aspects of your life, most notably your relationships and mental health. You would not be alone in admitting you find it hard to log off. Even some of the most ‘followed’ celebs have recognised the need to address their social media obsession. So, when does your social media use become excessive? It is difficult to place an exact time-boundary around recommended daily use of social media. However, if any of the following symptoms sound familiar, your social media use may be excessive and could be classed as social media addiction.
You check for ‘updates’ obsessively
Is your phone the first thing you reach for in the morning? You’re not alone. 80% of smartphone users say that checking their phone is the first thing they do in the morning. If you are constantly refreshing your feeds for new updates in the fear of missing out (FOMO), there’s a chance you are overly reliant on social media. Equally, another sign to look out for is feeling low or irritable when you cannot get your social media ‘fix’.
Your ‘virtual’ life is negatively affecting your ‘real’ life
One of the most notable symptoms of social media addiction is prioritising your virtual life over your real one. Ignoring loved ones because you are checking your social media feeds mid-conversation or neglecting your work tasks in favour of social media can indicate addiction. Research also suggests that we sacrifice our physical well-being for our social media habit. Our teenagers are swapping social media for sufficient sleep and 35% of us use our smartphones in dangerous situations, such as when driving.
You feel ‘depressed’ comparing yourself to others online
Heavy Facebook users are a staggering five times more likely to suffer from depression than non-heavy users. And excessive social media use can be linked to mental health issues, notably low self-esteem and anxiety. Social media creates a platform for displaying our lives exactly how we want others to see them. Rarely do we share anything negative, and thus we are subject to an immense pressure to keep up with a certain lifestyle. Are you constantly comparing yourself to the unattainable ‘perfect’ lifestyles of others? This ‘compare and despair’ factor is also a numbers game. Are you obsessed by how many ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ you have? These are signs that your social media use is becoming addictive and could be impacting your mental health.
You are unable to be ‘present’
A key symptom of social media addiction is an inability to focus on the present. If you find yourself thinking ahead about how you can share an experience online, you could be living ‘through your screen’. Are you more excited about filming a concert, rather than actually enjoying the music in real-time? Are you obsessed by taking the perfect picture of your meal for Instagram before you actually eat it? Sadly, we may have gigabytes of storage on our phones, but we actually have few physical memories of our lives.
What can you do to tackle your social media addiction?
These statistics and symptoms may seem surprising or even deflating at first. But reducing your social media usage is definitely possible! Time To Log Off is the home of digital detox. We share great ways you can challenge yourself to rethink your technology and social media use to promote a life of balance. A great place to start is adopting our 5:2 digital diet, or really tackle your social media addiction by going on one of our popular digital detox retreats.