In the present world, social media addiction has become a major problem and many people are affected by this. We are all aware of the fact that technology is improving day by day. Today, everything is available at a fingertip. We can talk to people on live video, and learn things through a live webinar. Specialist Doctors are available for live consulting from anywhere in the world. We can discuss and get advice online from experts in any field. But there are many wrong sides due to the misuse of technology and social media. In this article, let us discuss a few points about social media addiction.
What Is Social Media Addiction?
As per Cambridge Dictionary, addiction is “an inability to stop doing or using something, especially something harmful.” “the need or strong desire to do or to have something, or a very strong liking for something.”
Social media addiction is a behavioural addiction that is characterized as being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas. Source: Addiction Center
Do you have a social media addiction?
From the above two definitions, you can check whether you have an addiction or social media addiction.
Over the last few years, checking and scrolling through social media has become an increasingly popular activity among many people irrespective of their age. This doesn’t mean that all of them have social media addiction. Many people’s use of social media is non-problematic and does not affect their life. But there is a good number of users who have become addicted to social networking sites and engage in excessive or compulsive use. Whenever they hear a beep notification sound from their smartphone, they stop their work and check the phone. This is badly affecting their productivity and health.
It is a fact that technology is great, good entertainment, many things to learn and improve your skills and very helpful to make a lot of things easy. But as you know anything excessive is bad for our health and life.
What is the balance of technology in your life?
You can find that among many people technology is out of balance. How often do you use your smartphone for checking emails, social media and other activities? Do you have the bad habit of starting and ending your day by checking social media? Are you using social media at the dining table and also while working? Do you check social media as and when you hear a beep notification sound?
Some people feel anxious and stressed when they lose internet service for a few hours. When their smartphone is misplaced or forgotten to carry with them that causes distress. They have trouble putting down their smartphone for a few seconds. They may not be aware that they have Nomophobia which is required proper attention and consultation with a health expert.
Technology and social media are wonderful, but misuse or excessive usage can be very destructive and destroy your relationships like all other addictions destroy.
What is the right balance?
What do you do the first thing when you wake up in the morning? Do you check your smartphone first or do some prayers and meditation, and say good morning to your family members? If you check your smartphone first, that is not good. At first, you should fill your mind with positive vibes in real and that you will not get through smartphone notifications.
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Do you find yourself incapable of getting through a day without needing to check your social media? If yes, that is a problem.
We know that an immature mind is not mature enough to deal with the powers of addicting chemicals and hence there are age restrictions on alcohol, cigarettes and other such items. But unfortunately, there is no such age restriction on using the internet, smartphones, or social media. Of course, there are age restrictions to visiting some sites and watching videos. But that can be treated as a warning only because anybody can use it through a fake account or another valid account proving as an adult. This is actually giving a chance to teenagers for temptation and social media addiction. Parents have to save their children from teenage addictions. From the media news, we can find many cases of teenagers falling into wrong activities due to social media connections.
We know adolescence is really stressful and a stage with a lot of curiosity to know and experiment. This curiosity makes them attracted to connect with unknown negative people on social media. They attract them with false offers, and tempting materials and innocent children fall into their offers. This put them into social media addictions affecting very bad to their future.
Social media addiction and stress
Some people use alcohol to overcome stress because they say alcohol helps them to forget many things. That way they become addicted to alcohol. In the same way, some people find social media as a medium to relieve their stress. When they suffer stress they turn to social media addiction. That can increase a sense of isolation and loneliness and can actually destroy relationships in real.
Control social media addiction
Today, we can see while walking, driving, travelling, and eating, everywhere people are talking on a mobile or scrolling on social media. Their eyes are looking down on their phones constantly, while waiting for the bus, in a line, at home, before bed, when waking up and even in bed. You can find people keeping their phones under their helmets and talking while riding on a two-wheeler. Some people keep talking holding mobile in one hand and driving 4 wheeler with another hand. You can see many people walk into a busy street completely unaware of traffic. They are not worried about the accidents, not worried about the trouble they are giving to others on the public road.
The new generation growing up with addictions
The new generation is growing up with smartphone addiction and social media addiction and this results in an increased sense of loneliness and isolation. Every day we can find news in the media about cheating through social media connections, spreading fake news and baseless comments and increased rates of suicide. Experts have made social media with good purpose and helping the people, but many are misusing this technology. Do you know smartphone addiction is more dangerous than drug addiction?
Some schools and colleges want to restrict mobile phones on campus, but the parents demand that they keep their phones in case of emergencies. Now, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, online classes are the only way to study and for this parents are forced to give smartphones to children. How many parents check the activities of their children while using smartphones?
Today, we have an addicted generation that doesn’t have the skillset to ask for help. Your children are so good on social media. They are very good at putting filters on everything and showing you how smart they are. But you have no idea what are their social media connections and what are their activities on social media and the internet. When you look at their social media posts, you would have no clue that they are depressed because they act happy.
Parents’ control of social media addiction
Parents have to intervene in the social media activities of their children and also have to stop giving kids free access to social media and phones at young ages. You can give your kids a phone for online study but ensure that they do not use it in their bedroom, at the dinner table, and don’t take it to school. You should also restrict using it up to certain hours and that also not in private.
As per health experts, we should avoid using smartphones and other electronic devices for at least 30 mins / 1 hr before bed. This interval is necessary to control the blue light in your eyes. The more you scroll your smartphone before bed, the blue light goes into your retina, decreases the melatonin, and decreases the quality of sleep.
Your kids are not playing outside anymore. They have no interaction with nature.
If you are age above 40, look back to your childhood. You can realise how simple life was back then. There was no instant self-gratification, seeking validation from strangers on the internet. Life was great. What the problem is now? It’s a matter of dealing with the situation using the technology properly. The responsibility and power to change lies with social media users.
Today, you type everything on your smartphone or laptop. You don’t write with a pen or pencil and hence your handwriting is not good. Even signature is digital and hence you don’t need to sign on documents. People have time to talk with their neighbours or even with family members. You send messages to them on social media. Some people do not even know who are their neighbours, but they know who is on their social media connections. There are fewer real-life relationships, interactions, and sharing problems with family. You share your problems with unknown persons on the net and they misguide you or cheat you. You can find many innocent people sharing their private and confidential matters in social media chat rooms and other negative people take advantage of this by recording, sharing and even blackmailing. Never disclose such confidential matters on social media.
Reasons for social media addiction
One of the main reasons for social media addiction is not enough work and a lot of free time. Jobless people, men, women, and youth all are finding the internet and social media as a medium to get engaged. To attract these people there are many negative people with negative materials waiting on social media, especially in chat rooms. Basically, most social media platform is free to use, free to upload and store media. This is the major reason for misusing the platform by negative people to attract others who don’t have much knowledge about the bad effects.
Stop social media addiction
We live in a time where you can hide behind technology and be anything you want. It does take a lot of discipline to NOT let social media steal your time. Make sure you are happy in real life and NOT just on social media. Get out of your comfort zone. Take a breath in nature. Look up and see your world. Give a stranger a smile and interact with real people. In the new technology world, so much is being missed. People have no time to interact with real people because they waste their valuable time on social media. Keep engaged, read good books and do physical activities. Do things that will bring positive vibes to your mind. A positive attitude and optimism will help you to control negative thoughts and that will help to quit bad habits.
The power of the mind is “ESSENTIAL”. Feed the mind things that you can grow from, like a walk in the park, a book, look at the stars. Enjoy the beauty of the skies, nature’s beauty, and birds in the air, enjoy with your loved ones while still alive, see your surroundings and learn cognitively using all your senses. Focus on your goals and what’s really important to your life’s success. Don’t get distracted by unnecessary entertainment. Learn to beat digital distraction. We all have a mission that is waiting to be accomplished. Remember, time is precious and priceless and hence never waste time. Entertainment and fun are good, but life is not just for that. Realise the value of your life. Too many technological stimulants just to make life easier or more interesting but in the long run, we lose and feel empty.
Do you have a social media addiction?
How often do you check your social media?
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Mathukutty P. V. is the founder of Simply Life Tips, a passionate Blogger, Content writer, Influencer, YouTuber. Lives with a notion “SIMPLE LIVING, CREATIVE THINKING”. Believe – “Sharing is caring.” “Learning never ends.”