Aside from the obvious anxiety and nervousness that being away from social media can cause some people, there are some other telltale signs that they may have an addiction to social media. These include everything from isolating themselves from others, losing interest in activities they once found enjoyable, and getting agitated, angry, or anxious when they are unable to check social media.
Anxiety, agitation, or anger
Not being able to check social media is not a life-threatening situation. But, for some people, not being able to get online and check their status and their updates can feel like one. Even though they may feel embarrassed or confused by their reactions, they often feel like they cannot control their feelings or their situation.
Withdraw from family and friends
When social media addiction progresses, it can become consuming of a person’s time and energy. As a result, a person with an addiction to social media will withdraw from family and friends and spend most of their time in the virtual world.
Lose interest in other activities
As social media takes up more and more time, it becomes the most important thing in a person’s life. Consequently, the addicted person will spend the bulk of their time on social media and very little time doing the things they once loved.
Neglect school or work in favor of social media
One hallmark of addiction, is the way that it consumes a person’s time, energy, and attention. For this reason, many people with social media addiction often neglect their schoolwork or their work assignments because they cannot tear themselves away from social media.
Experience negative impacts
One of the biggest indicators that you or your teen has a problem with social media is when it starts interfering with your life in a negative way. For instance, grades start dropping and deadlines are missed for school or work are definite indicators that there is a problem.
Feel stressed and that your life is lacking
It is important to remind yourself (and your teen) that what you see on social media is just another person’s highlight reel. They have normal, boring days filled with work and obligations just like everyone else. Remind yourself that if social media makes you think that your life is boring, it is not going to get any better sitting there obsessing about it. You have to get out and enjoy your life – experience it – not just document it.
Practical Ways to Monitor Social Media Use
Whether you want to monitor your social media use, your teens’ use, or both, there are a number of steps you can take to see not only how often you are using social media, but also to determine if you are using it in healthy and productive ways.
When notifications from social media ping on your phone all day, every day, it can be challenging not to toggle over to your social media accounts and see what is happening.
For this reason, it can be extremely useful, and preventative, to turn off the notifications on your social media accounts. This way, instead of social media beckoning you to check out what people are posting or saying, you are in control. As a result, you are free to check social media at times that are convenient for you rather than feeling you should check right away when your phone pings.
Meanwhile, you may want to turn on notifications for when your kids post to their social media accounts.
Track Your Time on Social Media
Whether you use your phone’s settings or get a free app like Quality Time, there are countless ways to manage your time and track how much time you are spending not only on your phone but also on social media, Netflix, and online gaming.
Once you know how you are spending your time, you will be able to set goals and limits for your social media use. Additionally, some apps allow you to add family members so that you can all disconnect or unplug together as well as keep one another accountable.