by Jade Jehle, Artistic Director & Blogger

As a marketing professional, I am tasked to utilize social media as a key to listen, engage and build relationships with audiences. On a personal level, do I get tempted to check one or a few social media apps every day? Yup. I don’t know about you, but my phone’s main purpose has switched from calls and texts to Instagram and LinkedIn usage… And I’m not necessarily proud of it!

“We’re living at a time when attention is the new currency. Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value.”

Pete Cashmore

Founder, mashable.com

Ok, so, the top communication methods in 2019: Facebook (and its little brother WhatsApp), Instagram, Twitter and several others. Not only has social media become the way for users to redefine their lifestyle and status, but it most importantly creates a sense of belonging. Used daily or regularly, they expose parts of our lives and thoughts and keep us connected to our friends and family, and consequently, an excessive use is certainly not rare.

“Facebook researchers have figured out the perfect color, placement, and size of the like button to maximize the impact on your brain. If this sounds a little… manipulative, well, it is. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to delete your Facebook account. Users do show activation of the amygdala and the striatum when they’re using Facebook — two areas of the brain associated with addiction” – April 2018, Inverse.com

So, how close are you to being addicted to social media?

How has it been this easy to get us glued onto our smartphones?

Forbes’ recent statistics indicate that:

  • There are over 2 billion Facebook users worldwide,
  • About 500 million tweets are sent daily on Twitter,
  • 95 million images are uploaded to Instagram daily,
  • And on YouTube, over 400 hours of video are uploaded per minute.

Many studies over the last years have demonstrated serious dependencies on social media. Let’s be real: our habits and moods have a close relation to the time spent in front of screens. The Washington Post’s latest article describes this addiction as an epidemic.

Ok – we look like we’re glued to our phones but we’re just spreading our content to you guys online, spreading the love!

If you wonder whether you could be at risk of developing this addiction, you can go through these six qualifying questions:

  • Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
  • Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?
  • Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?
  • Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success?
  • Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
  • Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?

If you answered yes to a few of these, no problem, you are like most of us! If you did answer yes to all, then you may have developed an addiction to social media as described by specialists in psychology. 2017 data from researchers Dr. Daria Kuss and Mark D. Griffiths in England indicated that those typically addicted to social media often show signs of psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, loneliness and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

For a more scientific view into how this is affecting you, the ASAP Science video “5 Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Brain” posted on TEDEd provides a perfect understanding:

All this being said, I’m someone who sees things positively and wants to help you (just like I need to help myself 😋) get away from those screens and into the real world to enjoy life more, rather than stare at other people’s perfectly portrayed lives online. Things really aren’t as perfect as they are displayed on social media after all 😊

Here are positive reinforcement strategies put in place to date:

    • Surprisingly enough, some restaurants have decided to give discounts for clients who refrain to use their smartphones!
    • As we know, in many countries, the use of phones while driving is completely prohibited
    • Many schools ban the use of smartphones in classrooms
    • My 2 cents: doing anything that makes you happy and lets you engage in real life! Feel like doing something fun that you would typically need your phone for, to take photos? Bring a camera instead – nowadays, good, compact cameras like the Canon M100 are affordable and make pro pics.
    • Books of all kinds to help and clarify this excessive habit of ours… see below!

    Jade’s 2019 Digital Detox Suggestions:

           

    I’m going to keep doing my best to stay away from scrolling through social news feeds for more than 20 minutes daily and hope I have encouraged you to do the same. I admit that the days where I’m too busy to even check anything make me feel great!