Whenever the word ‘addiction’ or ‘obsession’ is mentioned, we associate it with negativity. We believe that people can only get addicted to cigarettes, harmful drugs or other obnoxious substances and behaviours. Is that why we don’t notice or acknowledge that we are addicted to social media sites?
Asking pertinent questions…
What are the symptoms of this addiction? Are there negative repercussions in such a scenario?
Addiction is addiction – the terminology notwithstanding
It is important to begin by stating that there is no difference between addiction to drugs, work or social media in terms of the disruptions these activities bring to life and how they affect the individual in question and those around him or her. That is why you should think twice before castigating that person who is sinking under the weight of cocaine, if you exhibit some of the symptoms we are about to discuss.
How to self-diagnose your social media addiction
The good thing about social media obsession is that you don’t need to sit before an expert and explain your symptoms for you to know you are hooked. You can do it yourself. Here’s how:
- You wake up in the morning and turn to your phone (incidentally it ‘sleeps’ under your pillow), turn on the internet and check whether there is anything you missed on FB while you were asleep.
- Your phone is connected to the internet while you spruce up to go leave your house because you don’t want to miss out on interesting posts that are trending in your Whatsup group.
- Breakfast is on the table but you have one eye on your phone going through all the stuff being shared in your group.
- You don’t forget to take a photo of your breakfast and display it or FB, Twitter or even Instagram just to show your friends and followers what you ate!
- You give live updates of everything happening in your life, tagging people to photos and videos and ensuring they know what you are dressed in. Even when you are bored and tired, you make sure the world knows it.
- Every idle moment, including when you are in a bus or train, is used to make observations of people and funny events and to post images of what you come across.
- You are on social media most of the time, visiting as many platforms as possible because you are on almost all the sites.
- When your friends want to find you, they don’t need to call you or come to your office or home. You have a reputation of being online most of the day, even at odd hours, thus making it easy to locate you.
- There is this game you are playing and you cannot resist reaching the next level; after all you are competing with many other people in your group and you want to have the bragging rights.
- You are the selfie queen. Every time you meet with important people and some nobodies is time for a selfie, which you promptly post on social media and boast about the meeting the persons on the photo.
- I don’t want to get into details of those who tweet while performing some vital duties in lavatories or those who are quick to get the details of some famous dead folks and giving breaking news of the death of such celebrities.
Why you should act!
This list is endless. What is important is that you realize that social media obsession is taking away precious time that you could use reading, discussing face-to-face with loved ones and consciously interacting with other people. It is unfortunate that you can spend more time with people you barely know or those who are far removed from you while neglecting those around you and who matter most to you.
Eventually you will begin to neglect your own hygiene and personal needs to pander to the vain expectations of other people. Remember social media creates a false image of perfection that you are expected to fit in and since you cannot attain it, you end up with low self-esteem, despondency and sometimes suicidal thoughts.
How to end the obsession
- Ditch social media sites. Pull down your accounts and be free of this addiction for ever.
- If you cannot leave social media completely, reduce the number of sites you are in; after all the same people you follow on Twitter are your friends on FB.
- Come up with a social media schedule in which you spend a few hours every week catching up with the latest news, thus leaving the rest of the week for serious stuff.
- Spend more of your free time with real people, chatting, laughing, enjoying a meal or beverage, travelling and helping the poor instead of wasting all your productive time on social media.
- Work on your attitude, self-esteem, grooming and other personal elements away from social media and create a unique style for yourself so you don’t fall victim of unrealistic expectations of social media.
Your Grace Guru