Social media addiction is defined as compulsive and excessive use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat) even when use of those platforms is taking over your life and having a negative effect on your ‘real life’ and relationships.
What is the evidence that it exists?
Cornell Information Science have undertaken research that looked at the difficulty people have in quitting Facebook and other social networks even when they clearly intend to. They even have a label for the failure to quit: “social media reversion.”
61% of Facebook users feel they have to check their Facebook feed at least once a day minimum which is a clear sign of a compulsion.
Checking your phone constantly for Facebook or Twitter notifications is a sure sign that you may be suffering from social media addiction. Feeling in a low mood when you do not have access to social media and spending more time broadcasting your activities on social media than actually spending time carrying out those activities, are also danger signs.
What can you do?
Set boundaries around the time when you access your social media accounts. Turn off ‘push’ notifications so your social media use doesn’t impact on your day-to-day life. Go for a walk. Keep laptops, tablets and all social media-enabled devices out of your bedroom to avoid the temptation to check social media last thing at night and first thing in the morning.
Using social media mindlessly is feeding your addiction so invest some time in walking outside, exercising, reading a book or newspaper, or spending time with your friends.