If you think you casually scroll through Instagram reels whenever you get bored, try uninstalling the app.
Or maybe it’s not that serious; everybody has little bad habits, right? But whatever the case might be, one thing is for sure. We can’t survive the world without our smartphones.
And here are some statistics that confirm this:
- 210 million people suffer from social media and Internet addiction
- Some teenagers spend up to 9 hours/day on social media
- Teens who spend 5 hours a day on their phone are 2x prone to show depressive symptoms
- Young, single females are addicted to social media more than any other group (source)
Most of these numbers come from a study conducted in 2017. So much has changed now. The Pandemic made us even more dependent on technology.
But how do you know where you stand? Well, check out these symptoms of social media addiction. And don’t be alarmed if you are able to relate to most of them. Because everybody is guilty here.
Rather, we are here to find a solution. However, overcoming social media addiction is not easy. There are no shortcuts to completely start fresh overnight. You need to maintain a balance between your digital life and social life.
It can be achieved through digital minimalism and we have already coved about that in detail. For now, let’s try to reduce the dependency and fix your dopamine levels.
Being said, here are some effective ways to cut your social media time and declare freedom again.
1. Turn off notifications
41% of teenagers feel overwhelmed by the number of notifications they receive. It might sound like something so basic but it has a big impact especially in the long run. Suppose you just sat down to study or work and your phone keeps showing new notifications. Now you might not check your phone initially but it’s enough to break your focus.
Remember that it always starts with “I’m just gonna check this notification only” but it never ends there. This feeling is even stronger when we post something. We go back to check the engagements on our post and often get anxious about it. Therefore, if your social media is not about personal branding, then you should keep your notifications off and focus on your work.
2. Keep your phone away while you sleep
Turning off your notifications can save you from lots of distractions. But it doesn’t always work when we sleep. Because 45% of young people scroll social media instead of sleeping. And 71 of smartphone users usually sleep with their device in immediate reach. Therefore, the simplest solution is to keep your cell out of reach.
Place your phone somewhere so that you have to get out of your bed to reach it. Maybe in the next room but it will help you to cut the bad habit of checking the notifications in the middle of the night. Avoiding your smartphone’s screen also means avoiding the blue light. This blue light controls our circadian rhythm and our sleep suffers. Therefore, not having your smartphone next to you will also help you sleep better.
3. Keep your phone away when you wake
You need to stop checking your smartphone the moment you wake up. It’s almost like a morning habit to many of us. And by many – about 80% of smartphone users check their mobile phones within 15 minutes of waking up. And when you are bombarded with tons of notifications from all over the world – you get stressed.
You are not able to start your day with a calm mind. Rather, focus on your meal and then check your to-do list. Be prepared for the day; not alarmed. You need to not check your smartphone until your brain is relaxed and you feel ready for the day.
4. From digital to analog
Talking about checking your to-do list in the morning might make you think about your phone. That’s why you need to shift from digital to analog. No, we are not saying that you should stop using smartphones, that’s almost impossible. But try to use analog as an alternative where you can.
For example, instead of checking your to-do list from your phone, you can use a small notebook. Instead of social media, play physical sports. Or get yourself involved in a new hobby or something you always wanted to learn. One of the best examples is to re-switch from e-reader to old school paperback physical books.
5. The ultimate solution
As we mentioned in the beginning, all these steps are great but they will only help you to cut some bad habits. It’s not a complete solution. In order to make your life productive and peaceful, you need to maintain a balance with both the worlds. You need to let go of your smartphone for some time and then reintroduce it with different rules.
This time the rules will be healthy and you’d be the master of your time; not your smartphone. This process is called digital detox. Digital detox first helps you lose all the old habits that you associate with your digital life. And when you reintroduce the technology, you begin with new habits and a fresh start. You don’t need to take any fancy courses to learn digital detox. Because it depends on your willpower and motivation.
We have already written a full-fledged article on digital minimalism. Go read it. The guide contains everything you need to know about the subject and how to practice it.
Social media and cellphones have the same consequences on our soles as any other harmful habit or addiction. The issue with this one is that we don’t know much about the potential for harm. While there is literature that links some mental health problems but, the long-term repercussions are unknown.
But one thing is certain: it has the potential to ruin your life. Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but it does have some dark sides. So, while you still have the ability to control it, do so. We tried to make things as simple as possible for you, and it’s all completely free. The question you need to ask yourself now is whether you’re serious about it…