09 Jan Are you addicted to social media? 5 tell-tale signs
Social media can be addictive, we know that.One study found that 34% of adults have checked Facebook in the last ten minutes, whilst another discovered that just seeing the Facebook logo triggered cravings that were often too powerful to ignore. Even while knowing that social media can be somewhat ‘sticky’, sometimes it can be hard to draw the line between what’s mere enjoyment and true addiction. So, here are 5 tell-tale signs that you could be addicted to social media.
#1 You think you might be
If you think you might be addicted to social media – you probably are. Addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a substance or doing an activity, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm. It’s the point at which the process of checking social media and being on it is harmful to you – and yet you still continue to use it. If you are aware of negative consequences of excess social media in your life, and yet you still can’t drag yourself away, you could be addicted.
#2 You check it first thing in the morning
If this is you, you are not alone, 40% of adults check there phone within 5 minutes of waking up, and 80% list it as their first activity of the day. However, if you are checking it first thing in the morning, and last thing at night, your entire life is bookended by social media, an unhealthy pattern. We have written many times about the detrimental impacts of social media and more general phone addiction to both your mental health and sleep quality – so try to stave off Insta for a couple more minutes first thing, and see how you feel.
#3 Unconscious engagement
Another obvious symptom of being addicted to social media is that your finger automatically clicks on an app. Have you ever been standing at a bus stop or in a waiting room, with your phone open and clicked on a social media app out of habit? Only once you’ve already clicked do you realise that you did it at all.
Top tip: Regularly re-shuffle your home screen so that you have to actively look for your social media apps and consciously choose to click on them.
Here is a topic we have written about before- the phenomenon of doomscrolling. This is when you spend hours mindlessly scrolling on social media, going from one bad news story to the next, drawn in by negativity. It is one of the more damaging aspects of social media as it can put you in a very negative headspace. If you find yourself in this position regularly we recommend taking a sabbatical, or at least putting a time limit on your social media.
#5 Deleting is scary
Lastly, the most obvious sign of addiction perhaps, the idea of deleting your social media accounts, or even switching them off for one day, is scary. If you feel a palpable sense of fear at the idea of not being on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok, then you probably need to do just that. Take a couple of days away, see how you feel, and readjust your interaction with social media accordingly.