Not a great many years ago, the idea of social media addiction would have seemed rather far-fetched to say the least. Today however, not only is it a problem, but it’s a problem that’s both gravely underestimated and known to be getting more prolific all the time.
To a large extent, it was always going to be inevitable. The fact that pretty much every single person up and down the country now has the ability to remain connected to their online accounts and virtual personas means that millions do exactly that. While some are able to keep at least moderate control over their activities, others find themselves completely and totally consumed by social media.
The question therefore being – where to draw the line?
Exactly what constitutes a dangerous addiction when it comes to such things will differ greatly from one person to the next. Not only this, but it also tends to be extremely difficult for those facing these kinds of addictions to admit them, let alone begin doing something about them. Nevertheless, social media addiction is known to have a great many detrimental effects on the lives of those affected, so it’s more than worth proactively questioning whether or not your habits are becoming problematic.
What follows is a quick introduction from www.davidgoodlad.co.uk to just a handful of the most common warning signs of social media addiction:
- One of the most characteristic signs of what could be categorised as a problematic social media addiction is that of instinctively reaching for your device first thing in the morning and not being able to function until you have first carried out your chosen social media activities. Rather than a simple curiosity as to what has been going on over the past few hours, addiction is characterised by the sensation that you absolutely must keep permanently up to date. You may feel that to do otherwise would leave you feeling unable to cope.
- In addition to checking social media accounts first thing in the morning, a great many individuals affected by serious addiction may find themselves compelled to check their accounts (and those of their friends) during the night. They may find that their sleep is disturbed by an uncontrollable compulsion to log on to social media at any given time – failure to do so leading to the kind of anxiety that can make it difficult to sleep. The long and short of it therefore being that when sleep begins to suffer due to social media habits, it could be an addiction.
- Speaking of cutting down, another tell-tale sign of addiction which applies to social media just as it does to a great many other addictions is that of actively trying to cut down social media use, but repeatedly failing to do so. If you have acknowledged that you have a problem with something and make efforts to cut down on it, not be able to do so effectively proves that you have lost control of the situation. And when you have lost control of the situation, you are technically struggling with an addiction.
- Something else common among social media addicts is falling into a state of blind panic or trauma in any instance where the person’s social media accounts cannot be accessed. It could be that they cannot find their device, its battery is dead, there is no Internet connection available or anything else across the board. Irritation of not being able to get online is one thing, but if you find yourself genuinely stressed, angry, traumatised or fearful when cut off from your social media accounts, this could be a sign of addiction.
- Moving on, any individual that has knowingly or unknowingly allowed their social, domestic or professional life to suffer due to excessive social media use may have an addiction that warrants investigation. When social media is relied upon to fulfill social needs, it may be time to consider professional advice.
- Last but not least, another important warning signs to be on the lookout for is that of finding yourself entirely consumed and preoccupied by your online image. One example of this would be that of spending an unhealthy amount of time working out the best possible status updates, constantly analysing/editing photographs of yourself and becoming obsessed with how people respond to and comment on your posts/photographs. When such concerns really have become the centre of your universe, full scale social media addiction may be to blame.