Despite the many positive outcomes of using social media sites such as Facebook. Instagram. Twitter and Skype, there have been discussions that look into the negative aspects of social media sites. The use of social media especially among the youths grows significantly every year. These social sites when overused or misused cause social media addiction. However many people usage of social media is habitual but when it starts to become problematic it becomes an addiction.
According to a study conducted in Government and Private PU colleges situated in Bengaluru city, the prevalence of social media addiction among its users was 36.9%. About 4 billion people globally are using the internet with 71%of this population being youths aged between 15-24. The launch of free and low-cost data packages has contributed heavily to the increase in social media usage because almost everyone can access social media. Social media addiction may have an effect on physical health, psychological health, and behavioural problems for users in their formative years.
Signs you may be addicted
Surprisingly most people do not even know they are addicted to social media. Here are a few signs that will help you determine if you are addicted or not.
Checking your phone in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning.
Most people can relate to this trend. Some even spend sleepless nights going through their social media pages trying to keep up with the trend. It may seem like just a habit but it is a red flag if you can’t sleep waiting to see how many likes you get on Facebook or Instagram pages or even looking for the latest gossip involving celebrities. You can rid yourself from this habit by finding something pleasurable to-do that draws your attention away from the phone. Try charging your phone away from the bed, start meditating, and workout, read a book.
Number of pages you visit in a day
If you do not feel the need to leave social media pages so as not to miss an update is a sure sign of addiction. It is normal to check your social media page once or twice in a day but if you find yourself getting distracted from your work frequently to check on your social page you are addicted. When you turn off social media platforms notifications you will tend to forget about social media for some time since there is no reminder to check on something.
Sharing everything you do on social media.
A good percentage of social media users cannot do anything without sharing. They will take photos of their new haircut, document the number of calories they ate and how long they worked out in a day or how great they are. It’s not wrong to share a post frequently about what is happening in your life, but if everything has to be posted it becomes an issue. Some people even go to an extent of buying followers, auto comments on sites like Instagram and even taking courses on gain exposure with Instagram auto comments to perfect this art. Try to share the important moments with people, who are close to you, this will give you a richer experience compared to that of social media sites.
Your friends use social media sites to get a hold of you
Your friends know that the only way to talk to you through your social media pages because it is your most preferred mode of communication. This is an indicator of social media addiction. It means you spent almost all your time on social media. To overcome this adopts a more physical contact with your friends and family. This will give you a mental and physical break from social media.
You are always playing phone games.
Phone games go hand in hand with social media since most of them are connected to your social media account. They use your social media account to prompt you to keep playing. If you find yourself playing games all the time you are addicted to. Some people even go to an extent of playing them while attending meetings, during lectures and even in church. Some games like the Blue Whale online game that led to several deaths of teenagers and caused public outcry is a good indicator of how much we are addicted to social media. If you feel that you might get addicted to a game when you start playing it, consider not starting to play it at all
You use social media for recreational purposes
It is okay to enjoy social media for recreational purposes such as watching work out videos, watching a good movie or retrieving food recipes if you have few minutes to spare However if being on social media is all that you want to do it is a sign of addiction. Recreational activities should not take up all your time affecting your work schedules or even school work. Such behaviour is a sign of addiction. You should set aside some time for recreational purposes and strictly keep time to avoid falling into addiction.
Social media is the main thing you use the internet.
There so many things that you can do the internet, however, if you find yourself visiting the social media platforms more than other things on the internet, you could be addicted to social media. You should challenge yourself to use the internet to enlighten yourself more than you use it for social media. You can learn how to do constructive things that will inspire you positively like making new recipes or learning how to make new clothes.
Social media is a lot of fun and enlightening when used the right way. However, misuse or overuse of the social media platforms can lead to addiction which tends to take away our lives. Social media addiction can cause health issues. Some health problems such as strain on the eyes, increased anger, and sleep disturbances, increased consumption of junk food, frequent anxiety attacks and alcohol abuse were termed as some of the negative effects of social media addiction. You can overcome social media addiction on your own through engaging in activities that keep your mind occupied. However, if you are too deep into an addiction that causes depression, you should consult a therapist.