It can be very difficult to tell when you’re spending too much time on social media. It’s easy to sit down at your computer or on your couch and start scrolling endlessly through your social media feeds. Twitter offers up news and bites of thought, Facebook shows you your friends everyday life events and Instagram shows you windows into the lives of others.
Maybe you’re feeling like you’re spending too much time on social media due to the effect it’s having on your psyche. Are you feeling depressed or anxious when you start scrolling through your feed? Maybe it’s time to step back.
How to Tell If You’re Spending Too Much Time on Social Media
Every Moment is Captured
If you notice you’re always framing each moment and capturing it for Instagram or Facebook, maybe it’s time to reconsider your social media intake. If every meal is being photographed and uploaded and every restaurant is only for your Insta clout, that’s not terribly healthy. It’s okay to enjoy things in the moment, as the ephemeral and temporary things they are.
If you’re always clinging to the very moment, you’re causing yourself anxiety that is totally unnecessary. Your life is yours alone: you don’t need to stress out trying to make it look fantastic and otherworldly for other people’s benefit. Live your life for yourself first and take a step back from the over-documentation.
You Compulsively Check Your Phone
“Live in the moment” is a difficult adage to live by. We’re inherently social creatures, and we often desire outside validation from our peers. That’s why it’s so addictive to grab our phones, open them, and check on our social media. However, this is a really bad habit to fall in to.
You know the loop: you’re stressed out, you’re putting off important things that you need to do, and you check your phone really fast to see the time. Maybe you’re looking to check off any notifications before you start in on something important. Then, you get sucked in to scrolling.
Maybe it’s Facebook scrolling down your friends’ pictures, Twitter scrolling to see news updates or just zoning out while looking at Instagram models. In any event, you’re looking at your phone for twenty minutes, and you feel yourself wasting time. But still, you keep compulsively switching apps and scrolling.
You Care More about Social Media Than Real Friends
Another big red flag for social media addiction is compulsive phone checking at the expense of actual social engagements. You’ve probably had friends over before and felt yourself drifting out of conversation by scrolling down your phone, making yourself distant from the real people in your life.
If you’re neglecting your real friends in person over your social media accounts, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Again, you need to live in the moment and enjoy what’s in front of you. If you’re out with your friends, you should just connect with them! There will be a chance to check social media later, when you go home and don’t have friends around.
You’re Always Comparing Yourself
A buddy of yours from school got more likes on their selfie than you did. A person you used to date is looking hot on a date with someone who looks way better than you. Some of your friends went to a movie and got dinner without you. These things are popping up all over your feed and you’re starting to get really self-conscious about it.
These digital updates are actively making you feel bad. Your phone is glued to your hand, you don’t know what to do. You’re on the couch, the TV is blaring white noise and you can’t seem to snap out of it. You’re comparing yourself to the people you know and it’s killing you.
What Should You Do?
There are a few things you can do to try to break this cycle off. The first, and most obvious, thing you can do is to just delete the apps from your phone outright. Maybe you keep your accounts online so you can check from your desktop at home, but you should really start with getting them off of your phone.
A more drastic step you can take is to downgrade from a smartphone. If your smartphone addiction is driving you to constantly reinstall apps and start the social media cycle over, just get rid of the smartphone. It’s not worth hanging on to something that makes you feel bad. Remember: the things you own shouldn’t own you.