The Handcuffs of Social Media

Everyone knows how addictive social media can be. It’s instant and being updated every second. Overusing social media is something most people are guilty of. It’s annoyingly easy because we have our phones with us 24/7. From the moment we wake up our phones are there, already filled with notifications, messages and stories published overnight on social media. Then we bring our phones to bed and scroll through social media for another hour.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is great! But constant use of social media can eat away at our time. How often have you lay down on your bed to check social media and before you know it two hours have passed? It’s great for entertainment and keeping in contact with people but it can eat up time that could have been used more productively and stop you from living in the moment.
Scrolling through social media all day can also leave you feeling depressed. We all know people only present a perfect version of themselves. But if you’re having a crappy day, only seeing photos of toned bodies, filtered selfies and people gushing over their relationships, can leave us feeling worse.

Using social media isn’t bad, just as long as it’s not all day long, it’s all about balance. Don’t have your life revolve around social media. You can better use that hour of useless scrolling doing things like studying, cooking, talking with your family in real time, playing with your pet or exercising.

Also sometimes being plugged into your phone all day can leave you feeling like a zombie. It’s important to get into a routine of taking breaks from technology. I don’t want to fast forward 10 years and miss my child’s first steps because I was watching a video of two different animals who are best friends.

Here are six ways you can unplug from social media:

1. Put your phone on airplane mode. 
When you’re doing things like working or studying, Facebook and Instagram notifications are so tempting. You tell yourself you’ll just check it really quickly then before you know it, it’s two hours later. Airplane mode is great for stopping those little distractions! Not as drastic as turning your phone off and you can still check the time. Airplane mode until you’re out of the house in the morning can speed you up, as you’re not checking notifications as soon as you wake up.

2. Don’t bring your phone to bed. 
Scientists have told us countless times that the blue light emitted from smartphones and tablets keep us awake longer at night. Also you might think to yourself “I’m going to bed at 11pm, that’s not too late” but then you stay awake on your phone talking to people and reading articles and next thing it’s 3am and you’ve to be up in a couple of hours!

3. Turn your phone off when you’re with friends.
A lot of our social media use is to keep in contact with friends. So why when we finally meet up with them in person are we only 40% present, gazing at our phones every few minutes? Turn off your phones or do what Kendall Jenner and her friends do. In a Vogue interview back in March, Kendall admitted she often requests phone-free dinners with pals, with everyone present placing their phone in a pile in the middle of the table.

4. Give yourself one day off a week. 
I know it sounds scary. It might take a while to work yourself up to this. But I promise you the world will not fall apart and your friends will not desert you if you’re absent from social media for one day. You find yourself chatting more with family and friends, making plans to meet people that day and getting out of the house more, planning to do interesting things.

5. Stop using social media when you’re bored. 
A lot of us use social media when we’re bored or waiting around, it’s just an automatic go-to. But if we start doing something different like listening to music, calling a friend, indulging in hobbies like reading a book, you’ll soon find that it becomes a habit.

6. Think of social media as entertainment.
You would feel bad if you wasted your day watching movies or TV. So why do we allow ourselves to do the same with social media? We should all start thinking of social media the same as watching TV, a way to relax at the end of the day. So put away them phones and start living in the moment!