How much time do you spend on social media a day? If you think you are spending a considerable amount of your valuable time liking, posting and commenting on social media; then it is time to step back and limit your social media usage. If not addressed, excessive use of social media can have negative effects on your mental health. Before you know it, it might completely take over your life. Here are warning signs you are addicted to social media:
1. It is the first thing that you do when you wake up in the morning.
Did you know that what you do in the morning will set the rest of your day and ultimately your life? A strong morning routine can lead to a better life. In fact, highly successful people have morning habits and these habits led them to what they achieved in life.
How about you? What is the first thing that you do when you wake up in the morning? Starting your day with social media is an unhealthy habit. It is a clear warning sign that you are addicted to social media. Don’t start your day looking at how other people live their lives.
2. You monitor your posts to see how many likes or comments you got.
There is nothing wrong with the desire to receive many likes but if you obsess about it by checking your post every now and then, then that is a sure indication of social media addiction. You should not associate your sense of self-worth with the number of likes that you receive. Self-worth should come from within you.
3. You think your world will crumble if there is signal interruption, no wifi, or when the social media sites are down.
In this day and age, it is normal to feel stress when there is no wifi especially if your business or source of income is online based. However, feeling down just because you cannot access your social media sites is a totally different story. There are more serious issues in life to deal with than checking the latest feed on social media.
4. You have more online friends than in real life.
Did you know that studies have shown that spending quality time with family and friends helps boost your happiness level? It also affects both physical and mental health. Spending time with friends means real face-to-face interaction, not online interaction. Online friends cannot replace real life friends; friends that you go out, talk and share your experiences with. If you feel that you have more online friends than those whom you regularly interact with face-to-face then that is a sign that you are slowly losing in touch with reality and letting the virtual world take over your life.
5. You scroll and check your accounts right before you go to bed.
What is the last thing that you do before you go to bed? Pray? Read? Plan for the next day? Have a meaningful conversation with your parents or spouse or check your social media account? Checking your social media right before going to bed is a bad habit. Computers, cellphones and other gadgets emit blue light. This blue light puts the brain into working mode. Thus, it would be difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
6. You share everything on social media.
It is normal to share your thoughts, opinions and photos of your travels, events or good things that happened in your life. However, there are some things that are better left unshared like your rants about certain people or about your job. These kinds of negative posts and comments could backfire on you. Keep your personal thoughts private. It is also not advisable to share too many photos, especially of yourself, on social media. Your real friends might end up disliking you if you overexposed yourself. If you feel the urge to always share every moment of your life on social media; then that is a sure warning sign that you are addicted to social media.
7. You use internet slang in your everyday language.
Internet language is very different from ordinary casual language. They are short, abbreviated and sometimes misspelled. If you find yourself using internet slang such as:
- lol (laughing out loud)
- btw (by the way)
- g2g (got to go) or
- phrases that start with hashtag (#).
Using internet slang in your day-to-day conversation is a sure sign that social media has already greatly influenced your life.
8. You check in everywhere you go.
Are you obsessed with checking in to venues on your social media account? Doing it once in a while or on special occasions is understandable because we are all social beings. We just want to share that we are having fun or maybe your purpose is to post an open invitation to friends who are in the same location. However, if you do this all the time or your main reason for doing so is to show-off your status or wealth; then it is time to reconsider your behavior.
9. It distracts you from actually living your life.
Have you ever seen a group of friends or family together in a restaurant with all of them engrossed in their phones? How about tourists who are busy taking selfies or making videos of themselves? These people are so engrossed in their social media that they are forgetting to actually live and enjoy the present moment. The practice of mindfulness leads to happier and healthier lives.
10. You already had an argument with your parents/friend/significant other about your social media usage.
Another sign that you are addicted to social media is when your parents, spouse or significant other already complained about you not paying attention to them because you are busy scrolling your phone for news feed updates. Your personal relationships are already starting to suffer because of your social media usage.
If you have more than “yes” answers compared to “no” from the items above; unfortunately, you are now addicted or becoming addicted to social media. You should seriously consider a digital detox before it becomes a full blown addiction.
Updated version. First Published in Pinoy Smart Living on 10.16.2019.