Social media is a great way to have fun and interact with friends, but it’s also highly addictive.
Statistics showing the extent and prevalence of social media addiction compare it to a drug. Social media addiction has been a serious problem for teenagers and adults alike globally.
Besides, social media users rarely notice the addiction until it significantly affects their lifestyle and perceptions. Therefore, it is wise to know the signs you should look out for to avoid falling victim to this menace.
We’ve compiled common signs that you’re losing the battle against social media addiction and how to turn the tide.
- First and Last Resort
If you’ve made the social media feed a must-check every morning or evening before bedtime, you’re a social media addict. Reaching out for the smartphone, tablet, or computer to check messages or feeds on Facebook and other social media platforms is common among addicted users.
While finding information before sleep or immediately after you wake up is crucial, regularly doing so exposes you to too much screen time and affects sleep.
The best way to deal with this addiction is to find something else you’re interested in and replace that with regular social media as the first and last thing every day. Try writing down a list of things that you appreciate every morning in a notebook or read a book by the warm lamp before you sleep.
The key to shifting the attention from social media to notes and books is to ensure that you focus on only yourself. It’s much healthier and beneficial to start your day with a meditation-that long stretch and a hot cup of tea- than expose yourself to the hectic social media scroll.
- Comparing Yourself to Others
Social media obsession is one of the hallmarks of addiction among teens. This is probably the only time a person is receptive and more interested in what their favorite celebrities and friends are doing.
Teenagers struggle with a desire for status, body image, and a desperate need for validation. This sets some unrealistic expectations, which contribute to a significant adverse impact of social media.
With various sites to express their opinions, teenagers are flocking to social media to showcase their gifts and talents. It prompts fellow teenagers among the viewers to emulate and try to attract as many views and likes. This constant comparison makes them feel miserable, especially when they try to emulate someone’s ultra-curated slideshow.
It’s also worth noting that while most of the posts appear real and easy, they don’t represent the users’ real life, and teenage users can’t seem to get this. Besides, the social media companies leave every content at the viewers’ disposal without protection for their mental health.
You need to understand that most of the feeds you come across are perfected by photo editors and professional PR teams. So, break the cycle of constant comparison to others and be proud of who you are.
- Your Free Time’s Favorite
Grabbing your phone every time your hands are free is one of the common signals of social media addiction. When you feel tempted to check new videos on TikTok, think of other advantageous things that you can dive into at that time.
Think about any productive activity, even if it’s just a little. Frequently doing this will reduce the overall time on social media and increase productivity.
- Mindless Consumption
Social media is similar to snacking. Mindless snacking involves snacking even when you’re full. The habit is common, and you can easily recognize it.
The same case applies to social media addiction.
While there’s no issue in catching up online and chatting with friends, developing regular urges to dive deep into Twitter is an addiction sign.
One of the main ways smartphones ruin productivity is by letting you check social media regularly without even an objective of what you want or what you can read.
Help yourself avoid the mindless scroll by using usage monitor features or parental controls to set limits on your device.
- A Vicarious Life
Social media is meant to create fun as you share the most cherished memories and jokes with friends and family. Nothing wrong when you share something that brings joy to others.
However, you may develop an unhealthy relationship with your online persona when you replace your authenticity with other people’s perceptions.
Look at the things you post for others to see on socials. The pictures, the statements, the visits, etc. Do they really represent your life, or are you living a lie?
Check whether you post uncomfortable things just to please your followers. If so, think of your friends and real family as your audience and maintain authenticity. Avoid presenting what you’re not in real life, as it may cause pressure.
- Constant Posting
Most social media users have at some point indulged in oversharing on news feed mainly due to excitement or ongoing events. This is understandable, especially if it’s done just once to celebrate a significant event.
On the contrary, regularly posting too much information on social media indicates an addiction. Of course, we’re not here to police what you post and the intensity, but you should think critically about every post you make and check whether you’re proud of the quality and the limit you set online.
Choose what to publish as no one is really interested in every second of your day. You wouldn’t also have the time to view every second of other people’s day. So, take your time and consider what to post and what not to. This way, you’ll post better and necessarily less content for your circle of colleagues and acquaintances.
- Change in Opinions and Habits
Like that childhood kid who often puts you in trouble or the colleague who exposes you to dangerous situations, social media can also be influential. The influence starts when you treat online strangers as your close friends.
If you wonder whether to bolster your own image or keep up with others, it might be time to review your social media habits.
Discuss with loved ones and close friends about the topics you raise online. Note what they agree or disagree with. Such feedback will help you determine whether social media has impacted your independent thinking.
- Withdrawal Symptoms When There’s No Social Media
As mentioned earlier, social media addiction is similar to drug addiction. Trying to quit social media for good is no joke, but its’ worth it if you realize that your happiness depends on new followers.
You can break the feedback loop by ignoring alerts for new posts or not posting for a week. You become more engaged with relationships and real people around you when you no longer wait impatiently for positive affirmation on socials.
Dealing with this addiction leads to a better life and subsequent better posts to share.
- Closely Following Online Strangers
The social media algorithm seeks to boost engagement, meaning that you can meet and connect with strangers online. While you may feel excited that a stranger just accepted your friend request on Facebook, it should be nothing to celebrate.
It’s unhealthy to obsess over strangers on social media, and it probably won’t make you happier. You don’t have to deify any online persona even if you follow them “out of spite.”
Deal with such negativity and appreciate the real people around you.
- 10.You Engage in Risky and Dangerous Activities
You’re suffering from addiction if you do things that you normally don’t do or buy clothes that you don’t like just to boost social media engagement.
Why pull off that dangerous stunt to increase likes? If you risk your health and life to attract an audience on TikTok or Instagram, you should reassess your relationship with social media and your audience. Your social media popularity is not worth a serious injury.
Break Social Media Addiction
The main reason social media is addictive is due to people’s love for validation and attention. Respecting everyone you interact with and using appropriate conduct are some of the healthy limits you can set to overcome addiction.
Social media provides a little bit of fun that we all need in life, but it is crucial to differentiate it from real life. The ultimate solution is to take everything in moderation.