Social Media Addiction
Being on Social Media platforms has become normal and helps individuals to define their “social status”. Individuals post snaps of their day-to-day life to cater to others' attention and showcase their posh lifestyle. People use these platforms to validate their lives on social media by a craving for a “like”, “comment” or to get appreciated which makes them delighted. Online media platforms make us feel appeased and gratified, but few become addicted and indulge in obsessive and compulsive postings, unable to control themselves from logging in their “Facebook,” “Instagram” or any other such media platforms. The social media addiction severity is like any other addiction which leads to changes in emotional and psychological well-being. Researchers have proved that dopamine levels are changed when individuals are deprived of the use of such platforms and as a result, they undergo withdrawal symptoms. The increasing addiction in some also gives rise to thoughts in which a person feels highly anxious about others having fun without them, this is called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). A recent brain imaging study on FOMO by Harvard University suggests that the particular part of the brain similarly shows activation as it does when consuming an addictive substance. Also, the researchers suggest that the neurotransmitter dopamine rises when the person consumes an addictive substance, and similarly the elevated levels of dopamine can be seen in people who have social media addiction. Likewise, while receiving a massage or a “notification” on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The person’s dopamine levels get elevated and it makes them feel pleasurable. Being on social media does not only mean to upload and validate your life but these media platforms serve as a basis of rewards and attention from the “online friends”. A lot of people use media platforms to cope with everyday stress, feelings of isolation by receiving rewards from virtual friends which they are not receiving in reality which has been linked to lowering self-esteem. Increased use can make them feel isolated and dejected not only due to FOMO but also when individuals contrast their lifestyle with others. Researchers show that social media is serving as a platform that fosters the feelings of comparison between their realistic offline selves to diffused, unblemished forgery online description of others which is injurious to psychological well-being and self-perception. Persistent contrast between others and oneself based on their social media profiles leads to negative self outlook and patent social phobia. A study suggests that individuals who squander more than 2 hours manifest impoverished psychological well-being. The stress of posting perfect posts and pictures on social media can impact self-esteem and body image issues and as a result, suffer from poor decision-making skills. These Things impact important life areas like career, relationship, and work failing to recognize the severity. There are ways in which you can control your urges from posting, spending unnecessary time on social media.
- Setting Time: spending too much time on social media results in unproductivity, so setting a time limit is a necessary step that one can take to reduce the addiction. For example, in starting try to at least keep your phone away for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Then, slowly and gradually increase the timing.
- Managing posting and pop messages: unnecessary posting and watching altered posts of others is a kind of compulsive act and should be avoided. Turning off notifications or pop-ups of social media apps can contribute to easing out the stress.
- Alter your friend and follow list: as mentioned above the feelings of FOMO are caused by comparing others to oneself. A good step towards this would be removing a bunch of people from your friend and following list.
- Spend family time: rather than spending virtual time with online friends try to connect with your family and understand them better. This will build your bond stronger with your family.
- Make yourself Comfort Food: distraction might be difficult for some time and you can do various DIY activities. This will make you change your thinking patterns and will improve your concentration.