Unaware of the consequences it might have, we people warmly embraced social media in our lives. Without even realizing, that thrilling sensation turned into an addiction. Now, its unfaltering obsession has emerged as a single source of multiple adverse effects. Though social networks allow us to escape from reality, its overuse debars us from coming back. Unfortunately, we have begun to value our virtual life over the real one.
The Cons of Social Media Obsession:
Instead of shutting our eyes to this great growling giant, it is time that we comprehend the negative impacts it is exhibiting in our daily life:
- Fragile Relations:
Due to the addiction of always being online and easily accessible, our relationships get compromised. This illusion of connectivity and the craving for virtual relationships have replaced the sense of fulfilment and pleasure of real-world relations.
- Short Attention Span:
Microsoft Corp. carried out research and concluded that over the years, our average attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. “Heavy multi-screeners find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli — they’re more easily distracted by multiple streams of media,” the report stated. Non-stop push notifications now occupy moments that should have been spent alone.
Unfortunately, tasks that demand close attention are compromised. Students find it hard to concentrate on classrooms, and friends continuously scroll while one of them speaks.
Furthermore, complex tasks such as preparing a presentation for your clients or assisting a friend who needs help with literature review dissertation seem more complicated.
- Mental Health Risks:
With so much going on in your life, social media mostly portrays the booming life of every user. This makes you compare your life with those who apparently have a better life, thus resulting in anxiety and depression.
Enough of the negative impacts, let’s reassess our approach towards handling smartphones and revamp it to improve our lives.
The Escape Plan
It would be an insane idea to eliminate social networking from your life completely. Along with its negative impacts, social media, too, has various perks. Thus, our goal is to put social media back to its place, scale down its usage, and exploit its power positively.
Before proceeding further, I want you to take a step back and realize that accomplishing our mission demands self-control and a strong will-power to resist our compulsive behaviour.
As Alexis Ohanion said:” It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time.”
Choosing the Right Apps:
Smartphones were meant to increase our productivity and save us a bunch of time. But, if an app is eradicating this purpose or furthermore, if it is behaving contrarily and eats up your free time, delete it! Do not let this illusion of control, control you.
Instead, prefer productive apps. A variety of applications exist that can help you enhance your life while making you effectively utilize your time. Online magazines like Flipboard, keeps you informed with the ongoing affairs, irrespective of the fields of your interest.
Split wise, an example of the expense management app, can be used to organize group bills and improve the process of splitting significantly. Specific mobile platforms are there that allow you to manage your notes and reminders. Moreover, various websites can be accessed from smartphones that can aid you in your academic career. A few taps away are your research on Wikipedia or a hunt for an excellent essay writing service.
Even social media apps can be exploited for various positive outcomes. Social media marketing and direct interaction with your customers can boost your business. Meanwhile, you can get in touch with old friends and be informed about their lives. Social media truly portrays the idea of globalization. But once you are online, only a strong self-control can put an end to this ongoing use.
We all have had the experience of obsessive social media scrolls. Until we realized that a couple of hours got burned up. This issue can be smoothly tackled by restraining your random smartphone pickups.
Features like Screen time by Apple, are quite fruitful in tracking our daily smartphone use. Frequently examine your daily average and its rise or fall. It makes you concerned about your phone usage and shows you the moments you are vulnerable to impulsive scrolling. Be vigilant in tracking your screen time as it will allow you to analyse and eliminate the overuse of certain apps.
Along with this, you should also allocate specific time slots in your day for social media usage. Turn off unnecessary push notifications to avoid random pickups. Make sure this distraction doesn’t get you to lose focus on what matters the most. You have to withstand this constant social media pull, especially when you are sitting with your family or spending time with your friends. People around you should know that they matter, and their value is more than those virtual relationships.
Another practical approach towards this irresistible urge is to designate a particular space for smartphone use. Whenever you or your family members feel like going online, you should use your smartphone in a specific room. This area should have space where all of the smartphones that are not in use get placed.
Initially, if you find it hard to allocate a specific location for smartphone use, then make sure you don’t carry your phone to your bedroom. Otherwise, divided attention may affect the relationship with your spouse. University of Arizona psychology professor David Sbarra and his colleagues say, divided attention may lead to relationship conflict. For example, their review paper cites a study of 143 married women, more than 70 percent of whom reported that mobile phones frequently interfere in their relationships.
Along with your relationships, your sleep might also get affected because of smartphones. A study suggests that “exposure to smartphone screens, particularly around bedtime, may negatively impact sleep.” Thus give yourself at least 30 minutes of gadget-free time before going to bed.
I am not proposing an opinion that smartphones or social media are bad. It’s about the way we handle it, and make it as productive as possible, without letting it ruin our lives.