PSYCHOLOGY

Social Media Can Keep Us Hooked For Hours Every Day But There Are Ways To Break The Spell

Date December 23, 2019

Social media has influenced a large portion of our lives. These days, a high percentage of people are involved in at least one of the social media platforms currently vying for internet domination. If you're not keeping up with Facebook updates, you're probably showing something off on Instagram or sharing your thoughts on Twitter.

In fact, the obsession to constantly keep up with updates on these platforms have become such that some people can go for hours without looking up from their phones. According to PsychologyToday, mental experts have looked into the possible negative impacts on spending so much time on social networks.

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In fact, AddictionCenter has recognized social media addiction as a legit problem. The website explained that this is because it is fast becoming less like a pastime and more like a compulsive act for some people. They noted that psychologists believe up to 10% of Americans can be considered social media addicts.

How does social media keep us hooked for hours at a time?

Being addicted to social media can be a problem because you may end up looking at your device all day without even noticing that time is passing. The secret here is to play on our curiosity.

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ScienceFocus compares this method to how many people feel while playing slot machines in a casino. With each lever being pulled, a person is urged to keep going based on the unpredictability of what comes next.

So when social media gives you the option to "refresh" and view more updates, it naturally keeps us wondering what's next. It becomes a cycle where you keep wanting to see what's new, over and over again as the clock goes by.

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Our fear of missing out anything interesting, juicy or scandalous is also one of the ways social media takes advantage of human nature. With so many viral moments shared online, the idea that you're one click away from witnessing something historical keeps you going.

Here's the thing, though, social media can actually be a useful tool depending on how you utilize it. It can help you stay updated on important news, family moments and even give you a chance to run a business. So how do you know if you're using it in a healthy or dangerous way?

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According to Psycom, some signs you may be addicted include:

  • Feeling guilty about how much time you spend online;
  • Feeling depressed during or after you spend time social networking;
  • Having the need to lie about how much time you spend on social media;
  • Unexplained euphoria when you're on a device;
  • Having difficulties with schedules and being unproductive overall.
  • No sense of time when you're on social media.

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Addicted to social media? Here's how to stop

They say the first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge it. And knowing you have an addiction is a good thing. Now you can focus on breaking that spell.

According to Forbes, you can start by making it a lot more difficult to spend time online. This can be done by deleting your accounts on the platforms and removing the apps from your phone. The goal is to make going on those sites more trouble than it's worth.

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When you've done this, find other ways to stay busy. During the times you usually reach for your phone, get a different hobby instead. You may go for a run, do some reading, cooking, etc.

Finally, be sure to reward every leap you make as you break your obsession with social media. This encourages your brain to connect other hobbies with feelgood emotions and keep you on track.

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The fact is, any type of addiction is dangerous. It keeps you from making ample use of your time and leaves you feeling bad afterward. It's important to look out for signs that this pastime is becoming an obsession and try to stop yourself even before it becomes a full-blown addiction.


The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.

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