Social media addiction is more real and dangerous than you could imagine. Could you be suffering? Here are some signs to help you find out.
Do you constantly reach for your phone? Do you get that sense of panic when you can’t find it? Are your friends and family constantly competing for your attention? These are some of the signs of social media addiction.
Social media has integrated itself into every aspect of our lives, and Instagram has found to be one of the worst platforms for addictive behaviour and anxieties associated with a lack of social validation.
It has developed such an importance in our lives that we have developed additions to it and the validation we feel when a picture or post is successful.
Here are seven addictive behaviours associated with social media. If you have all seven, then maybe you should put the phone down!
1. Your food is frequently published… every course.
It’s not uncommon to snap a quick picture of a fancy meal at a restaurant to share with friends and family, and social media is a quick and easy way to do that. However, if you have posted pictures of everything that you have ever eaten, then you may have an issue with how much you think people are really interested in what you’re digesting right now.
Take a break from the food pics and just enjoy your meal. Maybe talk to the people you are eating with, too.
2. You wake up and the first thing you do is reach for your phone.
If you wake up and reach for your phone before even kissing your partner, then you may have a serious issue here. When you can’t even spend a few minutes between waking and scrolling then this is a definite sign of a social media addiction.
If you find yourself checking social media late at night when people aren’t even awake, then this is another sign. Try and give yourself a break and get some head space for a while so that you don’t feel so reliant on what other people are doing and saying.
3. Hashtags have integrated themselves into your language.
Hashtags are a great tool to help expand the scope of your readers and reach more people with tweets and pictures, and it can be funny to ironically stick a hashtag before a word, and a lot of people do it to satirise just how much we use them.
But, if you use it seriously then you have a #problem. This is a clear sign that your boundaries are a little bit too blurry and you need to take some time off Twitter and Instagram and let your communication skills recover.
4. You don’t know how many miles you’ve scrolled.
Mindlessly scrolling is something we are all guilty of, whether it’s because we’re bored or we’re looking for something in particular, but it can be a bit more than that. If you frequently find yourself months deep into Facebook and years deep into an Instagram profile, then you may be a little more addicted than your average social media user.
Try occupying yourself with something a bit more constructive and give your thumbs a rest.
5. No Wi-Fi feels like a disaster.
Not having Wi-Fi can be an inconvenience to most people because a large part of our lives is focused on the internet, whether it be for work, school, or communication. If your whole world feels like it’s falling apart with a lack of bars, however, then maybe you need to rethink your priorities.
Take some time away from the internet and communicate with real people, they do exist.
6. You anxiously wait to see how many likes your photos get.
This is probably one of the more problematic signs of a social media addiction because it can have a real effect on our self-esteem and confidence if a picture doesn’t perform as well as we would like it to. Waiting to see how many likes you can garner can cause real anxieties, and there are several mental issues that can come from not receiving the gratification you desire.
If this sounds like you, then you should think about taking some time away from social media and finding pursuits that give you confidence and validation in other ways, not reliant on anyone else.
7. You delete pictures without adequate likes.
Another symptom of the anxieties that a lack of likes can cause, if you delete photos that don’t perform well enough, it is a symptom of the same issue. Those who are really into their social media pages will delete a picture without enough likes because it looks bad on their profile, or even worse because they don’t think it’s good enough to be up there.
Your social media page belongs to you, and it shouldn’t matter what others think of it. It’s about what you choose to share, not what others choose to like.
Social media addiction is a real issue, and it can cause real life harm. There have been several investigations into social media and the addictive behaviours that it can cause users to present. If you feel that you have an issue with social media then take some time to step back and find other things in your life that are more important.
By Francesca F.