Social Media Addiction

Social Media Addiction

Author: Claire Cheshire  Editor: Alexander Bentley  Reviewed: Michael Por
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Understanding Social Media Addiction

 

Social media addiction is a serious problem. Some of the smartest minds are working at top tech companies, purposely designing products to grab your attention and keep you on their platform. After all, that translates to more revenue.

 

Signs of Social Media Addiction

 

  • preoccupied by social media
  • use it to reduce negative feelings
  • you gradually use it more and more in order to get the same pleasure from it, which is essentially building tolerance
  • you suffer distress
  • you sacrifice other obligations or cause harm to other areas of life

 

If you answered yes to any of these, it’s okay. You’re not alone. A lot of people are addicted to social media. There is a solution.

 

Digital Detox – Treatment for Social Media Addiction

 

Some people recommend a digital detox. The idea of a digital detox is simple and occurs when an individual gives up their digital equipment for a period of time. Rather than use digital devices, individuals spend their time doing wellness and social activities11.B. C. Chen, M. Y. Chen, Y. F. Wu and Y. T. Wu, Frontiers | The Relationship of Social Media Addiction With Internet Use and Perceived Health: The Moderating Effects of Regular Exercise Intervention, Frontiers.; Retrieved September 23, 2022, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2022.854532/full.

 

It is a chance to recharge the batteries and become one with oneself again. Digital detoxes allow people to end stress, relieve anxiety, and overcome a dependency on devices including mobile phones, computers, tablets, and televisions.

 

During a digital detox, a person will refrain from using electronic devices. The detox could be completed at home by an individual or at a retreat. Regardless of the place in which the detox occurs, the aim is for the individual to get away from the stresses and addiction caused by digital technology devices.

 

What is a Digital Detox?

 

First delete social media apps for only one day, beginning this process with deleting Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media apps you use from your phone, or just one day.

 

Doing this will set the bar low enough that it is easy and feasible to achieve, but it will also give you a taste of what life is like without the constant dopamine snacks. Now that you’ve taken a brief break from social media, come back to it with a fresh perspective, and the ability to more accurately determine what is actually bringing you value.

 

Ruthlessly unsubscribe and unfollow accounts on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and any other sites that are distracting you, and not providing value. Remember, be aggressive. And don’t worry, they will still be there later if you change your mind and want to re-subscribe. These platforms are ultimately tools, and it comes down to how you use them.

 

Reclaim your attention. There is an art and a science to setting up your phone for maximum productivity and minimal distraction. Disable notifications for all social media apps. That means no lockscreen notifications, no badges and no sounds.

 

This will prevent you from being distracted every time someone likes or comments on a new post. Taking this a step further, remove any distracting emails from your inbox. Move your phone out of sight. Sounds stupidly simple, right. Instead, put it in another room or elsewhere, out of your line of sight when you’re working.

 

I can’t stop looking at my phone

 

Over 2.5 billion people have smartphones now, and a lot of them are having a hard time putting them down. It starts with turning off all notifications, except for when a real human is trying to reach you. When you get a call or a text or a message, it’s usually because another person wants to communicate with you, but a lot of today’s apps simulate the feeling of that kind of social interaction to get you to spend more time on their platform.

 

If Facebook sends you a push notification that a friend is interested in an event near you. They’re essentially acting like a puppet master, leveraging your desire for social connections so that you use the app more, but notifications didn’t always work like this.

 

When push notifications were first introduced for email on blackberries in 2003 they were actually seen as a way for you to check your phone less, you could easily see emails as they came in, so you didn’t have to repeatedly open your phone to refresh an inbox, but today you can get notifications from any app on your phone. So every time you check it, you get this grab bag of notifications that can make you feel a broad variety of emotions.

 

It’s the same logic behind slot machines, and slot machines make more money in the US than baseball, movies and theme parks combined, and they become addicting about three to four times faster than other kinds of gambling. Some apps even replicate the process of pulling a slot machine lever with the pull to refresh feature and that’s a conscious design choice.

 

It helps to filter out apps that use infinite scrolling. Unlike pagination, where users have to click to load new content on another page, infinite scrolling continuously loads new material, so there’s no built in endpoint. Video autoplay works in a similar way, these interfaces create a frictionless experience but they also reduce a user’s sense of control, and make it harder to stop.

 

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    1.B. C. Chen, M. Y. Chen, Y. F. Wu and Y. T. Wu, Frontiers | The Relationship of Social Media Addiction With Internet Use and Perceived Health: The Moderating Effects of Regular Exercise Intervention, Frontiers.; Retrieved September 23, 2022, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2022.854532/full
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