So, it’s unlikely that social media is going to disappear from our lives anytime soon. However, like a gambler at an online pokies casino, could we possibly look at ways of self-regulating and responsible behaviour?
When high-profile stars like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez announce they are taking a break from social media, perhaps it’s time to take a look at the benefits of stepping away from the device.
The thief of time
Social media steals your time. By avoiding hours of mindless scrolling, you could take back time to do something that you really have been wanting to do, but can’t due to the lack of time! Removing yourself from the on-going dialogue of what other people are doing and thinking will help you focus on your own personal goals instead of the rush of likes on Instagram.
The lure of the digital marketing helps us stay connected but it should never take the place of a real life relationship. Days, weeks, months may go by without actually seeing a close friend although you may have connected on social media. During a social media detox, you could take some time to really connect by planning something fun together, catch a live show, visit a gallery or play a game.
Of course, sharing every life event on a social media platform means that airing your private life for all to see and snoop over. By removing yourself from the online public sharing space, you have the added benefit of protecting your personal privacy. Be sure to delete any apps that share data between each other.
Constant scrolling means that we are removing ourselves from the reality of the here and now and transport ourselves into a collage of “best lives”, past events, old hurts or new fixations. A break from delving into a social media scroll-fest will allow more time for introspection, self-awareness and self-care…instead of using ones thumb to scroll, use it to massage your feet.
It is also a good idea to evaluate whether social media notifications are affecting your sleep. Constant notifications, beeps, flashes and vibrations can upset sleeping patterns and the quality of your sleep. One way to avoid this is to sleep with your phone in airplane mode, which will have the added advantage of creating a Wi-Fi free zone whilst you sleep.
So, how do you know when you are spending too much time on social media? When does the pull of the public platform become too much?
Like any addiction, there is a physical element to the dependency. Ask yourself whether body craves the need to be on social media. Does the thought of being separation from your beloved device make you feel anxious?
Another good check to assess whether you are in a social comparison cycle that makes you feel depressed and unworthy. Are your peers going on exciting overseas trips, getting married or having babies while you are not? Does scrolling through their “perfect lives” and “perfect posts” leave you feeling alone and dejected? This is a sure indication that you need to take a break and reconnect with yourself, friends, family, goals and dreams.
How much time you spend on media platforms? More than 2 hours a day? Do you spend more time “connecting” with people online than in real life? Do you get FOMO if you don’t check your feed? If so, it’s probably time to ditch the online dalliance and reconnect with presence in the physical here and now. Wake up and smell the roses!