Addicted but a necessity

One of the worst addictions

In recent years, social networking sites such as, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tinder have taken the world by storm and turned into the norm for the society which makes an individual feel “alive” and “connected.” In spite of the numerous positive advantages and effects of these sites, there have recently been studies to show how dangerous these websites can be as well – especially on your health.

From a mental health perspective, concerns have been raised about the adverse effect of the overuse of social media sites on the health and well-being of users, especially that of the young generation, who tend to use this technology quite more frequently and for longer periods of time.

Recent studies have found that there is a significant detrimental effect on many aspects of a user’s lives who tend to use these sites so frequently, which harms not only their relationships but their academic achievements as well – these signs are clearly indicative of addiction.

To add to the previous point, various mental issues, anxiety, depression, loneliness, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and addiction have been said to stem from social media overuse. Since social media is more often than not accessed through a smartphone, their utilization is possible every breathing second of a person’s life and this contributes to excessive phone checking habits, which is now commonly known as ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO).

Fortunately, the statistics show that social media addiction is quite rare and not everyone is truly addicted to it. Nonetheless, numerous individuals’ social media usage is quite frequent and it can gain to show effects in different aspects of their lives and be risky and unsafe, for example, checking Facebook while driving. Other practices might be considered as annoying by others as opposed to risky for example, checking social media while eating out with a friend or scrolling through your news feed while viewing a film in the cinema. Others may snub social contact with their loved ones or friends and prefer to check out social media on their smartphone instead (the nerve of them I swear).

If you want to check whether you may be at risk of developing an addiction to social media, ask yourselves these six simple questions:

  1. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
  2. Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?
  3. Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?
  4. Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success?
  5. Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
  6. Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?

If the answer to all six of these questions is “yes,” then you may have or be developing an addiction to using social media. We say “may” as the best and the main way this can be affirmed is through a diagnosis from a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist.

In the scenario where you replied “yes” to a couple of these questions, it is more probable that you are a habitual social media user and that what you ought to do is take part in ‘digital detox’ strategies that would enable you to lessen the measure of time spent on social media. This can include simple steps, such as turning off sound notifications and only allowing yourself to check your smartphone every 30 minutes or once an hour. Other simple steps include having periods in the day where there is self-imposed non-screen time (such as during meal times) and leaving your smartphone in a separate room from where you sleep (just so you don’t get the urge to check social media before bedtime, during the night, and when you wake up).

For the small number of individuals that are actually addicted to social media usage, treatment is guaranteed. However, the goal of treatment isn’t to exterminate the usage of social media, just lessen it and bring it under control. In today’s day and time, using social media has become a necessity for more than 3/4th of the world so completely diminishing its usage is not feasible. The most feasible type of treatment for social media addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy (which is a talk therapy designed to help people change the way they think and behave) which can help people talk about their addicting and once they know the problems they have contributed to the step 1 to getting the control back in their hands.

With regards to taking care of the issue of decreasing people’s utilization of web-based social networking, there is no magic wand that we can whish around and make it come true. While people are at last in charge of their own social media life, policymakers, social media administrators, businesses, and educational establishments all need to implement strategies for reducing excessive social media use.


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