Social media can be awesome, no doubt. It can be a great way to reconnect with old friends and even distant family members. You get to share what’s up in your lives, photos, recipes – even witty ideas, dreams, and aspirations.
Yet, is this a substitute for real, in-person, socializing? Does it help to feed our soul and need for communication with others? As we discussed in a recent article, a study by the Harvard Business Review found the answer to be a resounding, “No.”
In fact, they discovered participating consistently on social media – what they term social media addiction – not only doesn’t feed our basic need for human interaction and relationship-building, it’s bad for our mental health.
Of course, this correlation varies depending on intensity and frequency of use. Yet, it’s always there.
So, breaking social media addiction—how is it done?
Below are 3 different ways to help you back away from social media addiction and get some more balance in your life.
One: Assess the current situation – how much time DO YOU spend on social media?
Frequently, we may not realize how much time we are truly spending on social media. We think we are only on Facebook “here” and “there”—nothing to worry about, right? However, if you track, monitor, and/or review your time, you will likely be surprised.
The hard part in the past was keeping track of your time was difficult. But now, it’s much easier through some new apps. A specific one that’s simple to use is QualityTime. It tracks your social usage across the board. Once you have an accurate picture of how much time you are spending in the social platforms, it becomes clear whether you have something to solve.
Two: To beat social media addiction, put social media down and away for a while…
First, try turning off notifications. When you are constantly being pinged – with new messages being announced – it’s distracting. It’s also a prompt to jump in and see what’s up—what you’re “missing.” That’s why turning those notifications off is a great help in minimizing social media use. As a next step, take your accounts off auto login. If it’s harder to access the accounts, it will likely minimize usage by default.
Additional steps include:
- Paring down friends lists (so you only see the most important stuff from close family and friends)
- Watching social media time
- Limiting your own social postings to one or two a day
- Deleting some social accounts (and removing the apps)
***If you need more help with ending the social media habit, there is an app called Cold Turkey that prevents you from being able to visit social media sites you enter.
Three: Get out and get “real” more…
Put the computer down and get social—for real. Take up a new hobby. Ideally, with friends and if possible, outdoors. Generally, people are craving the social interaction and validation they get on social media. One of the best ways to break the social media addiction or habit, is to get this interaction and validation from people you can see and hang with – spend time with – in person.
If you miss connecting with old friends or extending family… pick up the phone. Also, snap some photos and stick them in the mail with an old-fashioned card. It’s not only good for you, it’s very likely to make your loved ones feel ultra-special too!