What Is Social Media?
Any website or mobile application that allows users to produce and share information, connect with one another, and participate in social networking is referred to as “social media.” The first social networking platforms appeared on the internet in the late 1990s, with the most popular sites debuting in the early to mid-2000s.
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are some of the most popular social media sites today. Different platforms work in different ways, with their own features, user interfaces, and social etiquette. Instagram, for example, is predominantly a picture-based network, whereas Twitter users must produce their information in 280 characters or fewer.
What Is Social Media Addiction?
Social media addiction is a type of Internet addiction in which people feel compelled to use social media in excessive amounts. Individuals who suffer from social media addiction are frequently too worried about it and are motivated by an uncontrolled need to get on and utilize it.
You may also find that as time passes, you get more and more reliant on social media, establishing a tolerance for your typical usage. You may have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you stop using social media until you can log on again.
Social Media and Your Brain
Social media is intrinsically addicting due to the way it interacts with our brains. Our brain releases dopamine when we post material on social media, the same chemical that is released when we take addictive narcotics. 1 As a consequence, you experience pleasure from social media use, equating it with positive reinforcement. You’ll get the same dopamine surge every time you get a social media notice, so you might want to increase your social media usage to keep the reward area in your brain active. You can use social media to get incentives and relationships that you wouldn’t get otherwise.
You can build a psychological dependency on social media over time if you ignore real-life interactions and interpersonal connections.
The Pros and Cons of Social Media Use
- The opportunity to discover new friends and communities online
- The ability to stay in touch with friends and family around the world
- The ability to raise awareness of important issues and worthwhile causes
- The ability to give and receive emotional support
- The opportunity to find an outlet for creativity and self-expression
- Access to valuable, credible information and resources
People who live in remote areas, are unable to engage with others due to social anxiety, or who are part of a marginalized, disenfranchised group will find social media to be especially useful in times when face-to-face interaction is unsafe, as well as people who live in remote areas, are unable to engage with others due to social anxiety, or who are part of a marginalized, disenfranchised group. These advantages, on the other hand, can benefit everyone who utilizes these platforms.
Negative Aspects of Social Media
- Feelings of Inadequacy and FOMO
Because users on social media prefer to share only the highlights of their life, these platforms might bias our perceptions of themselves. A steady assault of information from other individuals who appear to have a better life or a more conventionally appealing look might have a negative influence on your mental health.
These emotions can also lead to FOMO (fear of missing out), or fear of missing out. While FOMO is not a new issue, seeing others enjoy events or live a more “exciting” life can cause worry and low self-esteem, leading you to go for the phone more frequently.
- Depression, Anxiety, and Isolation
Face-to-face communication is critical for our mental health. Prioritizing social media and digital connection above face-to-face interaction might increase mental health issues like melancholy and anxiety.
High social media usage can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation, whereas less digital connection can alleviate these symptoms and enhance your mental health overall.
Cyberbullying is a huge issue on social media, with over 59 percent of American teens reporting being bullied on these sites. Social media can be a highly poisonous environment, from spreading misinformation to making nasty, hateful remarks.
Signs Social Media Is Negatively Impacting You
There are good and bad ways to utilize social media. However, the nature of these platforms exposes us to potentially harmful situations, thoughts, and emotions. If social media is negatively impacting your mental health and interfering with your everyday life, you should get treatment.
- You find yourself comparing your life
You frequently find yourself comparing your life to the lives of others on social media, and you suffer from FOMO when you see others posting about their social lives or successes.
- You feel like you are not as successful
You begin to feel inferior to other individuals you see on social media, and you begin to think poorly about yourself as a result of these comparisons.
- You seek validation from social media
You look to social media for validation, and if you don’t get as many likes or as much engagement as you want when you post, you get unhappy or depressed.
- You can’t stay away from social media
Even if you attempt to minimize your usage of social media, you can’t avoid it. You check your social media accounts first thing in the morning and last thing before going tonight.
- You find it difficult to fall asleep
You have trouble falling asleep at night. Our bodies’ circadian cycle, which determines when we feel drowsy and alert, is disrupted by blue light from phone screens. Before going to bed, scrolling through social media might make it harder for your brain to relax enough to fall asleep.
- If you experience these negative effects
If you’re experiencing these negative effects, taking a break from social media might help you feel better. You may be suffering from social media addiction if you find it difficult to quit utilizing these sites.
Social Media Addiction Treatment
Addiction to social media may be a difficult habit to overcome. People who are battling with this issue, however, have a variety of therapeutic choices accessible, ranging from counseling programs to self-care exercises.
- Speak to a Therapist
Seeing a therapist can assist you in better understanding your social media addiction and discussing the events and feelings that lead to it. Your therapist can also assist you in developing healthy coping strategies that will help you minimize your dependency on social media while also increasing your self-esteem.
- Commit to a Digital Detox
This therapy approach is more difficult to implement than it appears, but a social media detox is required to help you overcome your addiction. Make a long-term commitment to avoid social media, whether it’s for a week or a month.
To de-stress digitally, erase social media applications from your phone and urge friends and relatives to call or text you if they need to contact you. Find another pastime or activity to keep your mind occupied, such as doing art, reading books, or spending time with friends and family if you are severely bored.
- Engage in Self-Care Activities
- Exercise After an exercise, endorphins are released in your brain, resulting in emotions of pleasure, stress alleviation, and excitement. 8 Reduce your stress levels by engaging in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
- Meditation is a good thing to do. Just a few minutes of meditation each day can help you cope with stressful emotions and reduce anxiety. 9 Discuss popular meditation practices with your therapist.
- Spend time with the individuals you care about. Addiction to social media may deprive you of face-to-face connection, and spending time with friends and family might help you feel better. Spend an hour or so each week catching up with your closest friends and family.
- Make sleep a priority. Sleep deprivation may cause stress, and stress is a key contributor to relapse in addiction. Make an effort to obtain at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, and don’t be afraid to nap if you’re tired.
- Spend time in the great outdoors. Spending time outside can have a positive impact on your mental health by allowing you to reconnect with nature. Take a trek, a trip to the beach, or a stroll in the park.
- Practice keeping a journal. Writing helps you process emotions and increases creativity, both of which are beneficial while battling addiction. Instead of using social media, spend a few minutes each day writing in a diary.