When Facebook first emerged in the early 2000’s, Americans had a different perspective than they do today regarding social media. Social media was once a fun place to escape the real world and procrastinate from doing homework for six hours. Today, social media has taken over people’s lives with the introduction of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok. Not to mention, Reddit and Pinterest as well.
The problem with social media, is that it has taken over people’s lives. With the emergence of smart phones and constant internet connectivity, people are always searching for a reason to share a picture on social media.
While teens generally acknowledge that social media helps them keep up with their friends, approximately 45% of them say they feel over-whelmed by the drama they often encounter, according to Pew Research Center. Roughly four in 10 teenagers say they feel pressure to post only things that show them in a positive light or that generate a lot of comments or likes.
Many teens even take voluntary breaks from social media, according to a study conducted by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago. It found that 60% who have taken breaks have taken three or more, and 23% of teens who haven’t taken a break from social media have wanted to take one. About half of teens say their social media breaks are typically a week or longer.
Overusing social media
Social media has a place in people’s lives for a reason, whether that is to stay in touch with old friends or share pictures with family members. It is important to maintain a balance between your time and attention spend on social media.
Facebook and Instagram have admitted that their platforms are designed to become addicting for their users. Users continue to scroll through their news feeds for more content that has little to no relevance with everyday life. People have started overusing social media as a way to escape their normal interactions and get lost in their phones.
Regardless of the social media platform, it is helpful to keep yourself detached from other people within the social networks so you can stay aware of your personal life.
If you want to stop using social media or use social media less, it is helpful to put things into perspective so you can remind yourself about why you made the changes in the first place.
Ignoring the highlight reel
What you have to remember is the reason and time people decide to share their content. You won’t find people sharing pictures of their boring workday or their rather basic everyday life. Instead, people share the best moments of their lives in rapid fire. Pew Research Center conducted a study to poll teenagers and the reasons they use social media. It is no surprise to see teenagers sharing their accomplishments a lot more often than personal problems. Why share about your problems when you can share about your wins?
Social media is the highlight reel of a lot of people’s lives which you must not compare with your own. For some reason, people constantly find the need to compare themselves with their co-workers, friends and family.
Rather than comparing yourself with other people, you are better off focusing your energy on improving things for yourself. You will excel in life when you start focusing your energy on yourself and concentrate on your own priorities.
Social media promotes fake lifestyles
There are a plethora of different websites and apps you can find to escape the real world. And that is what social media has become; escaping the real world.
What most people do not realize is the amount of fake or manufactured content that appears on these social media platforms. It has turned into a “keeping up with the Jones’” type of problem, where users find the need to compete with the content they share.
Although it might look dream worthy, many of the pictures these social media influencers are sharing on Instagram have been proven to be fake. That’s right, there are actually social media influencers who share fake photos to continue fooling their fans.
Avoiding cyber bullying
When social media started to grow in popularity, cyber bullying starting increasing in occurrences as well. Cyber bullying is a horrible outcome as a result of social media. While social media is perceived to be used for friendly fun content sharing, there tends to be many different cases of cyber bullying that has caused depression, major fight outbreaks and even suicide.
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, their survey found that 59% of U.S. teens have personally experienced at least one of six types of abusive online behaviors.
The most common type of harassment youth encounter online is name-calling. Some 42% of teens say they have been called offensive names online or via their cellphone. Additionally, about a third (32%) of teens say someone has spread false rumors about them on the internet, while smaller shares have had someone other than a parent constantly ask where they are, who they’re with or what they’re doing (21%) or have been the target of physical threats online (16%).
Despite continued efforts towards reducing your social media usage, people tend to find these social media apps addicting. It is highly recommended to remove any social media application from your phone if you have trouble staying off the app.
Apple has introduced Screen Time, which helps users track their weekly phone usage time. It gives a breakdown of how long you used different apps on your phone, along with shows you how your usage time differed from the previous week. It is recommended to stay aware of your phone usage time so you can monitor if you are overusing your device for the wrong reasons.
Focusing on what really matters
When you make the decision to reduce your social media usage, you will find that you have a more free mind to focus on whatever you want. The problem with social media is that it locks your mind into thinking about other people’s lives that have nothing to do with you.
Not only does this waste your time for yourself, it also holds yourself back from actually making improvements for yourself. Rather than using your time wisely on yourself, social media constantly holds you back. Instead of taking proactive approaches to getting your life in order, social media makes you second guess yourself while making an important decision.
Ignoring social media and removing the reliance of social media will help you stay focused on the important things in your own life. Reading, writing, exercise, meditation and any other type of personal activity that can help yourself grow as an individual is a better utilization of your time.
Take advantage of your free time
When you start to cleanse yourself from social media usage, you will find yourself with a lot more free time on your hands. The benefits of having more free time are almost unlimited depending on how you manage your time. Take advantage of your extra free time to make positive impacts on your life.
With the assistance of Apple’s Screen Time, you will be able to reduce the amount of spent on social media and unlock several hours per week to use for yourself. After freeing up more time for yourself, you will be able to use that time to start reading more, get more time outdoors or simply find more time to talk to your loved ones.
If you have the ability to remove social media from your life, you will likely have the ability to do many other things. Stay open minded and try to replace social media with healthy activities, productive action items and personal growth opportunities.