08.07 2018 04:40h
08.07 2018 04:40h

How To Kill Your Social Media Addiction

Can't put down your smartphone? You are not alone
by @Laura Andrea Kell

Are you addicted to social media?

In 2018, it's hard not to be glued to our smartphones; especially when we need to periodically check our emails and messaging apps throughout the day. 

Last week, BCC Panorama aired "Smartphones: The Dark Side" on BBC One. The programme revealed just how addicting social media can be for some users.

While there's nothing wrong with occasionally checking Facebook throughout the day, some of us are more likely to get sucked into the vortex of unlimited scrolling than others.

And for those of us who suffer from mental health issues, constantly checking your social media accounts (and comparing yourself to Insta-models or celebrities) can be very triggering. 

If you think you need a bit of a social media detox (heck, who doesn't in this day in age?) check out these five helpful tips below.

Turn Off Push Notifications

You know those little notifications that pop-up on our screens and make noise when another user likes or comments on a post? Consider disabling them.

Push notifications are one of the main causes of social media and smartphone addiction.

Studies show we become anxious when we can’t check an email or social media post immediately after we’ve been alerted of a new message (or like, or comment). It's this urge to constantly check our phones and social media apps that creates addiction-like symptoms in users.

Turning off notifications is one of the easiest ways to curb your social media addiction.

If you're worried about missing out on what's going down on Instagram, set a specific time of day to check your social media accounts, and reply to comments.

Keep Your Phone Out Of The Bedroom

Chances are you probably charge your smartphone in your bedroom, and use it as an alarm clock in the morning. 

But this increases the risk of developing bad habits, like checking your phone after lights out - something 45% of young people do after they go to bed at night.

"People are exposing their eyes to this stream of photons that basically tells your brain to stay awake and not go to sleep yet," Dr. Dan Siegel tells Science Insider.

"You’re checking your email, you’re looking for texts. It tells your brain don’t secrete melatonin yet, that it’s not time to sleep."

Keeping your phone within arm's reach at night isn't a great idea if you're trying to break your social media addiction. Leave it outside of the bedroom, don't check it after a certain hour and invest in a regular alarm clock.

Make The Most Of Airplane Mode 

This is a great option if you're trying to cut down on checking your social media accounts yet need to use your smartphone throughout the day.

For example, going to the gym and listening to your music. If you put your phone on Airplane Mode, you'll technically be offline but will still be able to use apps that don't require access to the internet.

There are plenty of music streaming apps that allow users to download their tunes, in exchange for a monthly fee - so you can workout to your favorite playlist without any distractions or interruptions.  

Try Going Greyscale

There's a reason why your favorite apps light up with red notifications when someone likes or comments on your latest photo.

"That's the color that stimulates excitement in the brain," The Atlantic's Senior Editor James Hamblin says, in an episode of If Our Bodies Could Talk. "You're constantly stimulated."

The developers of our favorite social media apps want users to keep using and stay on their app; their whole business model depends on it.

And while there's nothing wrong with checking in on your accounts throughout the day, some people are more likely to develop an addiction to checking their phones than others.  

Some apps use slot machine-like techniques to encourage their users to check in, turning their smartphones into stimulating "reward" delivery machines. This is precisely why we can't stop checking our phones throughout the day – users get a hit of hormones every time they see a notification on their phones.

But there's one thing you can do to take back control: change your phone's screen settings to greyscale.

While Instagram won’t look as vibrant, going greyscale will make your phone significantly less stimulating and, therefore, can help you curb your social media addiction.

While the setting is less than ideal for those who work in social media management and content creation (good luck trying to use filters when everything is in black and white!), your average social media addict might find this feature helpful in cutting down the amount of time spent on their smartphone.

Go Offline For A Day

Taking a break from technology is never a bad idea. Consider doing a digital detox once a month, or even once a week.

Plan activities that don’t involve your phone, and consider obtaining your news the old-fashioned way (i.e. via newspaper or magazine). Read a book, go for a walk outside or grab a coffee with your friends.

Doing an “electronic fast” can help you connect with others and make you realize there’s more to life than growing your follower count.

What are your thoughts? Do you think you're addicted to social media? Let us know in the comments below.

#sorelevant

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