By Madison Forster
Social media can be a great tool for connecting with friends and family. A healthy amount of scrolling through your newsfeed can’t hurt you, right? “A 2012 study from Harvard found that sharing personal information on social media taps into the “reward” center of our brain, triggering the same part that’s tapped into when taking an addictive substance” (https://www.bustle.com/life/144893-7-ways-to-stop-your-social-media-addiction).
If you are worried about developing an addiction to social media, or just need a break from it, here are 5 ways things you can do.
- Limit Yourself — You can figure out how long you want to spend on social media, and set a timer. For example: If you want to spend 7 hours a week on social media, set a timer for 1 hour every day. It may be tempting to go over that time, but sticking with this routine can help you in the long run.
- Mute Your Notifications — Turning off your notifications will prevent you from getting distracted and reaching for your phone every time an alert goes off. Notifications can remind you that there is other stuff going on in the world, so it can be tempting to see what others are up to.
- Reach Out to Friends and Family — Social media can be a way to see what your friends and family members are doing, but why not reach out to them with a text or phone call? It can be a personal connection rather than liking a photo on facebook. If it works out, you can even make plans to hang out with them in person!
- Dedicate Time to Hobbies or Activities — Sometimes it can be easy to scroll through social media for hours in your free time. Imagine all the free time you could have if you spent less time on social media. You could dedicate time to something you really enjoy, or pick up a hobby you have always wanted to try. You’ll spend more time in your real life, and less time living through a screen.
- Think of Social Media as a Treat — You may find it helpful to get in the mindset that social media is a “treat” or a reward. After a long week, you may reward yourself with a meal at your favorite restaurant, or getting your nails done after finishing a big project. Think of social media as a reward to getting something done or being productive. This could help change the way you look at social media.
These are small things you can do to prevent and help a social media addiction. If you are a parent or teacher worried about your children being on social media too much, start with some of these questions, go over the benefits with them about having extra free time, and set limits.
- How much time on social media do you think is “too much”?
- How does it make you feel when you see something on social media that you wish you could do or wish you could have?
- What are some hobbies you want to try?
- If you had a limit of how long you should spend on social media, do you think you could stick with it?
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