Did you know research suggests that the more a person posts on social media the less ego strength and self-esteem they have? Most people who post frequently and often are looking for engagement which could be used as fuel for validation. Social media has been the biggest life changer for everyone since the cell phone and world wide web became accessible to the public. Here’s a quick rundown of some key issues we see in consumers…
· Workplace productivity has declined so much that business owners have incorporated social media policies to review in new employee orientation/trainings
· Sleep deprivation-this is seen specifically in teens but has affected consumers of all walks of life
· Academic performance has declined amongst students
· Safety Risks- People are walking with their heads down entering traffic to cross the street. Watching videos, and scrolling timelines while driving in traffic
There’s this phenomenon called Absence Presence which says a person can be physically present without being aware of their environment. This is especially true when families gather for family events or even eating at the dinner table. Families are detaching due to the distractions on their hand-held computer devices. No addiction is worth losing your family over. Have you been out to a bar or night club in the past two years? People are face down in their bright phones throughout the night while sitting in the VIP section of an establishment. It’s pretty horrid to watch how deaf to reality people are.
We can identify addiction in a few ways, but one of the most effective ways is to remove the external stimuli the in which the individual is addicted. If there is a physiological response after removing the stimulus such as increased heart rate, sweaty palms, heavy breathing, anxiety in the form of worry or anger, sadness, crying, etc. These are classic withdrawal symptoms, and these are clear signs that an addiction is present. In behavioral health hospitals, when patience are admitted into care, phones are removed from their persons for the privacy and protection of other patience. I’ve seen teenagers throw full blown temper tantrums over their electronic devices so much so that they needed to be physically restrained for fear of hurting themselves or someone else.
Here is another scary thought. Many people suffer from this phenomenon of Online Distribution Effect. This is a person who spends a dangerous amount of time on their electronic devices that they neglect their basic needs such as eating and sleeping regularly. People are actually losing years on their lives to satisfy their interests and curiosities. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a thing and people must know the tea.
Here’s how we can fix it.
Remove the stimulus! Take away the phones, take away the video games, take away whatever you believe is the external stimuli the individual is dependent on. There will be some push-back. Those physiological responses will be noticeable. If building discipline and boundaries is the goal, do your best to go on a reset period where you choose to distance yourself or detach from what you are dependent on. You can do this. The longer an individual stays away from the stimuli the easier it gets. People know that they are addicted to their phones, but do not know how productive and efficient they could be in life without the dependence of social media and the world wide web.
Most cellular devices have a screen-time app that allows you to track your activities. Use that application to monitor where you direct most of your attention and by doing this you will become more self-aware of your behaviors. This has been proven to be effective with weight loss. When people log or journal their calories daily, they eat healthier and in moderate portions which results in weight loss.
When posting content ask yourself, what is the point of me putting this out there for the world to see? Is it for attention, awareness, helpful information, or for branding? If your posts cause you to have any anxiety for any reason, this could be a key indicator you should probably think twice before you submit it. Social media addiction will be in the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders with details on the criterion. Treatment for this addiction is much needed along with gaming addictions. Step number one to any recovery is admitting you have a problem.
Are you addicted to social media?
By Jere’My Rankins MA LPC