Social Media Addiction: Watch out for These 5 Troubling Signs
I was meeting a friend after 5 long years. Excited. Nostalgic. Elated.
Jab we met, the first thing that we did almost instinctively was to take a selfie and upload it on our Snapchat story. Then followed an “Instagramming” session of a number of pictures we took of the food after shamelessly “checking-in” to the fancy place we had chosen. Words made way for notifications. Time passed as we both kept responding to a barrage of “WhatsApp” messages that flooded our phones.
Yes, a meeting which we both had planned and planned over endless “Skype” sessions withered away, consumed by a compelling urge to give in to the social media exigencies of the day.... We parted with a beautiful picture of the lovely “time spent together” which made its way to our individual timelines for the world to see.
Can you relate to this story? Then you too could be converting into a social media addict. Look out for these signs:
1. You Constantly Feel You Are Not Living "The Life"
That’s the thing about social media – it tricks you into believing that others around you are living “the life”.
Happy Selfies. Holiday pictures. Restaurant check-ins. Incessant fun. These are the social media metrics by which we judge ourselves in today’s time. A few ‘likes’ on our display pictures and posts boost our self-esteem – while a lack of these can even get us depressed.
Think it’s an exaggeration? A 2014 study published in the Psychology Reports: Disability & Trauma journal examined brain function of certain people on social media and found that they responded to notifications faster than they would to a traffic signal.
That’s the impact social media has on us. Be careful the next time you pick up your phone to see a notification and end up compulsively scrolling down your timeline!
2. When FOMO is Out of Control
If a random check-in by a group of friends can make you jittery for being left out, then you seriously need to reconsider the time you spend on social media. Being overwhelmed by the fear of missing out – be it get-togethers, parties, trips or anything for that matter – will only do more harm than good.
At times, ignorance is bliss for both your mental and physical being. You can’t be present at all places at all times and that doesn’t make you any less happening. Period.
Stop waking up to panic attacks in the middle of the night only to check your phone.
3. Is Facebook Your BFF, Insta a Safe Haven, and iPhone Your Bae?
Gone are the days when we craved the company of friends to share good news. Now, all we do is post a status online. The real is traded for virtual and intimacy has spilled out of close quarters into the deep, dark world online.
Well, we aren’t saying that all activity on social media invites concern, but if your phone is out when you aren’t even halfway through the menu at a restaurant, or the arrival of food on table is followed by an Instagram update, it could be a good idea to take a step back and reflect.
Millennials increasingly find themselves glued to their phones so much that it is the first thing they wake up to and the last thing they hold on to before retiring for the day. Think about this: can digital connections substitute real ones? Besides, excess of social media can leave you thoroughly depressed.
And this isn’t just hearsay. A study conducted by University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine recently concluded that –
The more time young adults use social media, the more likely they are to be depressed.
4. Say Hello to Social Awkwardness!
If you identify yourself as a socially awkward person and still find yourself projecting an altogether different picture online, you might be in for trouble.
You see, living two lives is not easy, but definitely exacting. How would you otherwise explain having a few hundred (if not more) friends on the web, keeping up a facade to conform to certain established and accepted notions and still not be at peace? Besides, what good is it to be constantly fiddling with your phone (more often than not for no good reason) even when in the company of people?
Solution: You need not abdicate social media but control, you must!
5. When Private Becomes Public
The world doesn’t need to know if you are feeling loved, angry or excited. Seriously, give yourself a break. Incessantly updating your whereabouts on social media, taking selfies everywhere – from restaurants to the loo – and posting them on Facebook is not cool. Every random get-together, birthday party and wedding celebration need not make it to social media.
Stop chasing the validation high and go enjoy life in earnestness. There’s a beautiful world out there that needs to be explored and lived. And not broadcasted. Not always, at least.
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