We are living in the Smart age and that the developments in technology as well as the rise of social media are no news. If you are standing at the airport or in bus, indeed any public place, you cannot fail to notice just how attached people have become to phones. Well I would not exactly blame it on phone though. They have been around for a long time now but our forefathers were never as attached to phones as people are today. Well, it is not phones that are the problem for us, social media and internet access is.
Phones are no longer basic simple electronic devices used to make calls and communicate with people in different places. It is much more complicated now. In fact a smart phone now can be used to do things someone with access to a computer could hardly dream of doing several decades ago. Almost everything is attached to the internet today. If you want to buy or sell, travel, work or even play, you can do all that from home, sitting on a chair with a smart phone which is connected to the internet.
Consequently, social media shows up and seems to be an unavoidable temptation and trap that many has proven to be just as addictive as alcohol or drugs, if not more. It is probably the next on the list after pornography and online gaming as far as causes of internet addiction are concerned. International bodies and organizations have spent so much already, trying to fight against these forms of addictions and while the fight is far from over, they have to now start worrying about social media addiction.
What is even more frightening is the fact that the effects don’t seem to be wearing off in any sense of the word. As a matter of fact, it is getting worse by the day and the younger generation are most vulnerable. Facebook, whatsapp, twitter and Instagram are famous names in the social media world, much like cocaine, marijuana and tobacco are famous in the drug world. It is easier, now, for students to forget their books on their way to class than their phones. That is how bad things have gotten. The level of distraction is so strong that parents are extremely worried and concerned about their children’s attachment to mobile phone. While it is necessary that they get phones as soon as they are able to use them properly, it is also good to begin letting your children understand that they can and will live and be successful whether or not they are connected on social media.
As far as Internet dependence and causes of internet addiction are concerned, the question is whether people become addicted to the platform or to the content of the Internet. Those addicted to the Internet become so in different aspects of online use. They differentiate three subtypes of Internet addicts: on-line games, sex, and e-mail or text messages. Social networks are a type of online activity in which texting or e-mailing have been predominant; however, the tool is also extensively used for playing games and for sexual purposes.
Social media addiction causes
Over Indulgence: Too much media could become a problem pretty soon, especially when you cannot imagine life without social media. This is probably the most prominent of all causes of internet addiction and social media in particular. The more a person indulges in social media, the more they are exposed to problems like as addiction, cyber bullying, inappropriate content, and psychological effects. Everyone is using Facebook, WhatsApp, snapchat, Instagram, YouTube etc. but it starts to become a trend that will destroy most positive habits you may have taken a long time without social media to nurture. It’s hard to control oneself when using social media, one click leads to another and then another until before you know it, two hours have just gone by.
If most social media addicts will be truthful, they will agree that the drive is most often than not a strong desire to be in the clique. It is just like people who work very hard to get money to buy something they do not really need or worse still do not really like simply because all their friends have the same thing. If somehow, by a miracle of course, social media witnesses a sharp decrease in the number of people using it, most addicts will drop out. So why not do it anyway? well because that will be old schooled. And what will most of us be doing with smartphones if we could not be on social media
Misplacement of Values.
One of the causes of internet addiction is the issue of misplaced values. At a certain point a social media addict feels that it is so important to be connected on social media that even work and family have to take second place. Your son probably can’t seat on the table for more than 30 minutes reading because every minute he has to check up what update has just come in. Sadly mom may have developed a habit of messing the food every once in a while because she is distracted by social media. Almost the whole family affected by the plague. You are considering deleting social media to set an example for the entire family but you are not certain if that will work. What do we all do now? You ask. Simple, follow the preceding steps.
Tendencies and signs of social media addiction
you are almost always reaching out for your phone before you even open your eyes in the morning. It is ok to check your phone a few times an hour for messages or important notifications. On the other hand, when you catch yourself reaching out for your phone first thing every morning, it’s your reflex telling you, hey! You’ve got to slow down on the phone and social media thing because things are now getting out of hand. With friends and family, life without social media would be great. So you can go ahead and consider deleting social media. You don’t need the obsession with social media.
From the moment people wake up, many of them will be checking their social networks as the latest news in Facebook or pictures in Instagram. People no longer need to go after the information, the information comes to them through the various social networks. Surely, people who often use these tools have many more contacts and virtual meetings than relationships or personal commitments.
You are spending too much time on social media (and ofcourse you don’t even realize it). Agreed, Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms offer ideal ways of taking a break and reliving some stress every once in a while. However, it is time to reconsider the amount of time you are spending on social media. If after truthful considerations, you realize that social media time has been on the increase consistently for some time, you may want to put in some limitations and restrictions for yourself or possibly entirely deleting social media.
Obsession with likes, comments and retweets on posts. You don’t normally get enough people complementing you or appreciating the things you do, so you decided to take the game to social media. After on Facebook for example, you have much more friends than you actually really know. You now have so many fantasy relationships on social media that you can hardly imagine life without social media. So you are hoping that the possibility of sharing pictures and thoughts with these people will give you the attention you seriously crave. After every other Facebook post or WhatsApp status update, you have to check in frequently to see how many people liked the post or viewed the status update.
Too many selfies and pictures already
Obsession with picture taking and sharing is another sign of social media addiction. In the car on your way to an event, you are taking a selfie. At the restaurant, it’s hard for the waiter to take your order because you are distracted by the selfie thing. Then the meal almost gets completely cold before you have eaten half of it because you have to take as many pics of the meal as possible. Matter of fact the only reason why some people do not take pics while bathing is because they still have some sense of decency that overrules the drive. Slow down, you may want to take some time looking at some other persons photos instead.
Mood swing: Social media is a means through which people feel more at rest and less lonely as they come to interact with many others, whether or not they have a relationship with these people. People feel like they have friends to talk to and a group of people with whom they can share ideas about similar issues of concern. When they become overly attached on this basis, social media begins to have impact on their mood and in a situation where accessibility is not possible or they cannot at the moment connect on social media, their mood becomes dull, almost as if their happiness is completely tied to the internet. This primary level of addiction is usually characterized by a false sense of satisfaction gotten when the person finally connects to the internet and to social media in particular.
Using Social Media abbreviations and clichés in normal conversations.
One cannot really tell if it is a lack of time or incompetence with spelling that makes people, especially the young go crazy and frenzy about short forms for words and phrases. If you were chatting with a typical social media user, say on Facebook or WhatsApp, you can hardly avoid abbreviations like LOL, AMA, BAE which they think you should know. Now that is quite ok when you are texting. It gets troubling when one begins to use such abbreviations in verbal conversations. It just tells you how addicted you are to social media and how soon you need to start pulling back and taking control of yourself.
Life without social media will still be cool. Trust me.
It’s not like we need social media like we need water to live. Any honest person will agree that there is really no need being as attached as we have become on social media. It’s more like an artificial need we have registered in our minds. Our forefathers had happier lives and great moments without social media, and those moments were real. Now one usually send an LOL which ofcourse should mean Laugh out loud, except that 95% of the times people use that abbreviation, they are not even smiling.
Dealing with Social Media Addiction
You could begin by admitting that Social media addiction is a serious issue you have to address effective immediately. Denial will do no good. You may have seen how much of your time is taken over already by social media and how distracted you have become since you signed up on facebook and other social media sites. You are surely not the only one facing this problem so there is no need being embarrassed by the situation. The following steps are great suggestions that can help you break off the addiction and regain control of your life. Now we know that not every point mentioned below will be beneficial to you, however you will do well to put as many as possible to practice and break away from social media addiction
Consider how much time you are already spending on Facebook and how you can reduce it for a start.
If you do not know exactly how much time you are already spending on social media, you may not yet understand the gravity of the issue at hand. Consider the number of times you usually look up on Facebook for the latest posts, or for how many likes your own posts have already gotten, how many views your WhatsApp status update has gotten etc. that will make it easier for you to make a more precise estimation of the amount of time you spend on Facebook in a day, a week or a month. Take record of how often you log on, how long you stay connected to the internet for non-work purposes, and what you are doing. If you want to overcome Facebook addiction you need to know exactly how much of a problem it is to you.
Get the opinion of others on how they feel about the time you are spending on social media
Close friends and family are those who are most affected by your attachment to social media. Therefore, they are the most competent to tell you how bad the situation is. When your attention is drifted away from more important things, it will take someone who is really close to notice it sometimes. Discuss with coworkers, family members and friends and ask them questions that will prompt them to tell you how they feel about the time you are spending on social media, then give you advice on how you can make it better.
Set Social media Restrictions and limitations
When you are aware of just how much time you spend on social media, you may be so desperate to stop it that you may want to do it instantly. Well that will not work, except you really have strong will power and can really exercise self-control. The truth is many people will not, especially as far as social media is concerned. What so you do then? Begin by setting restrictions and limitations to the number of times you go online for non-work related issues daily as well as how much time you will spend on social media a day. You can tell your friends to catch up with you at such times if you really need to use social media to chat. The time allocated at the beginning should be a little more comfortable. Then you can begin to reduce it after every week, say by 30 minutes each week. When you do that for about two months, the time you spend on social media would have reduced drastically and you will come to see how great life without social media could be.
Set a reminder to mark the beginning and end of your allotted time.
You could use a computer timer or alarm, or better still use the timer on your phone to alert you on when you can log in or log out of social networking sites. It is going to be a little painful to take such moves, but if you count the cost right, then you already know that it is worth the trouble. When your time expires, log off - no exceptions or excuses!
Put limitations to the number of notifications you receive from social media.
Come to think of it, updates and notifications never mean anything more than distractions. You hardly ever get some news from an update that really adds value to your life or helps you with your job. So why the frenzy about social media updates and notifications? At the time when you value social media notifications so much that you cannot resist picking up the phone when you receive a notification, you can be sure that things are really getting out of hand. Limiting the number of notifications you get may be an effective way of dealing with social media addiction. You may start with allowing only work related notifications.
Purge your Facebook friends
How many of your friends on social media do you even get to chat with in a whole year? I bet if you check, it will not be up to 20%, yet the craving to have a large friend list has driven you to send and accept more friend requests than you actually need. That simply increases the number of notifications you receive from Facebook and other social media sites. In addition you get to spend more time looking at photos and profile updates which are really not important. More friends simply mean you get to see what more people upload and even what they are interested in. So the chain of reaction that supplies you with tempting visuals and notifications keeps increasing as you have more friends. Cut down the number of friends and you automatically reduce the possibility of being tempted.
Consider taking Social media vacations or entirely deleting social media.
If you already understand what damage social media addiction is doing to your relationships and work or if you have already been taking some hours or days off, this should be a lot easier to do. Consider a couple of weeks or even a month and declare that time social media free weeks or month. For those who have a lot of work related communication on social media platforms, you can decide to avoid every other form of communication which is not work related during that time frame.
List out some important things you don’t do because of the attachment to social media.
Making a list of important things you no longer do because of your attachment to social media will further help you count the cost. It is hard to throw away a habit when you are not very sure what you are losing because of it. It is probably the same reason why you have been very passive with the issue. Consider what important relationships you are almost losing, how often you are unable to meet goal and objectives because of social media distraction or at least how much sleep you have been loosing. I think this should motivate you to make a change.
Level of Tolerance: when you begin to fancy post, updates and likes, you hardly know when it becomes an obsession. If you are have realized that social media is almost driving you nuts and have tried without any results to resolve the problem, it may be because you are tolerating it. you may need to get sufficiently fed up with the situation before you can be serious enough to make a change. You should be gaining control with each passing day, not losing it.
Clarify the value of social media in your life: Do you think you are paying much more than is worth for using social media very frequently? It is possible that Facebook or WhatsApp are your primary means of communication with family and friends. However, there are other alternative means of communication such as text and calls. If it is really necessary, that you connect with them through social media then you can make out time for that every day. It shouldn’t be a random any moment affaire.
Social media networks are contemporary communication tools which are very necessary for instant and less expensive communication with friends, coworkers and loved ones. In the process of using social media, however one has to be very watchful to ensure it does not take the place of people it was meant to help you feel closer to. The negative effects of social media have to be monitored closely.
In this sense, social networks are more than simple collaborative platforms of online messages and status updates on the internet. Social networks are directly related to the most intimate needs appertaining to human beings, such as being part of a group, being recognized, loved and special.
The ultimate solution to Tech-Addiction has never been deleting social media technology or asking people not to use the internet. They just need to use social media with some self-control.