Are You Addicted To Social Media?

Maybe it's time to stop "doin' it for the 'gram"
Maybe it's time to stop "doin' it for the 'gram"

Social media is a part of most people’s day to day lives whether they use Facebook and Twitter to keep up with news or Instagram and Snapchat to follow celebrities and post selfies. Social media is used for everything from keeping in touch with friends to brand marketing. It’s so prevalent that “social media influencer” is a real job title and something that has the potential to make someone a good living. But there’s a difference between using it casually or using it for business and actually being obsessed with it.

Think about it: what is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Is it lie in bed while you check all the social media notifications that popped up over night? You aren’t the only one. A 2013 study sponsored by Facebook found that 80% of users check their phones within fifteen minutes of waking up. It’s likely that number has only gone up.

An addiction to social media might seem relatively benign when compared to things like alcoholism, drug or sex addiction, but it definitely has its dark side too. Do you find yourself panicking if you forget your phone at home for a day? Do you wake up in the middle of the night to check Snapchat? Do you delete a picture if it doesn’t get a certain number of likes? You might be taking social media just a little bit too seriously.

Luckily, there’s such a thing as social media rehab. Talkspace, an online version of traditional therapy, created its social media dependency program to help people who feel like their social media habit is genuinely starting to have a negative affect on their mental health. After all, studies have shown that social media use is associated with negative body image and eating disorders, depression, anxiety and can also have an impact on your relationship and sleep patterns.

During Talkspace’s 12 week program, you’ll work with a licensed therapist to learn individualized strategies to understand and get a handle on social media’s role in your life. As with any kind of therapy, it will provide you with someone to talk to and help you learn how to take back control and cope with stress effectively.

With addictions like drug and alcohol, the key is to abstain completely, but social media rehab isn’t quite as simple. The goal with the Talkspace’s program isn’t to never use social media again, it’s to learn how to use it responsibly and in a way that adds value to your life. You can still post a photo of your brunch on Instagram and follow your favourite comedians on Twitter, but you’ll learn how to not let your life revolve around those things.

One study found that while there are more female users on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, men make up the majority of users on Youtube, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Google+. Men and women may use social media differently, but anyone can get addicted. So next time you catch yourself scrolling mindlessly, make a conscious decision to put your phone down and go do something productive.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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