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The Impact of Social Media Addiction On Our Mental Health

Are you intensively worried about what’s happening online when you are away from your Instagram or Facebook? Do you feel irritability, sudden mood changes when you cannot spend your desired time online? Or Is your child not being able to control the time they are spending online? If yes, then you or your child might be having Social Media Addiction.

Over the last decade, all individuals have started using various social media applications to connect with their friends, family, and scroll through new posts and trends. However, some individuals have begun engaging in excessive use of social media applications. These individuals can get addicted to it that causes harm to their mental health. Social Media addiction is defined as a behavioural addiction characterized by being overly concerned about social media. An individual will be driven by an uncontrollable urge to use social media applications. They tend to dedicate so much time and effort to these applications that it negatively impacts their well-being.

Social media is addicting, especially for teenagers and individuals in their early twenties. Social media has a significant impact on our brain. When an individual logs into their favourite social media applications, our brain releases dopamine. This chemical is associated with a feeling of pleasure. Although the sense of positivity is temporary whenever we open our social media applications, our brain engages in positive reinforcement which makes us addicted to social media.

Social Media addiction harms our mental health. A study shows that over 27% of children who spend more than three hours on social media every day tend to exhibit low symptoms on their mental health. When individuals excessively use social media, they might even suffer symptoms like low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, isolation, and loneliness. When individuals continuously scroll through social media, they tend to compare themselves and their lifestyles with others, which often leads to self-consciousness and social anxiety.

Social media addiction, on various occasions, has ruined many people’s life. A few examples of those cases are – In India, a twenty-year-old individual got addicted to Instagram. He spent at least ten to twelve hours a day on the app which reduced his memory and attention span. He kept posting every day and sought validation from others in the form of likes and comments. He mentioned that the day he received fewer likes or comments on his post, his negative mood would further affect his well-being. He slowly got demotivated to even workout as he used to spend all his time on Instagram. When he tried to leave Instagram for a day, he was unable to do that. He kept on thinking about feeds and what he was missing. In the end, he was so addicted that he missed deadlines and, his work quality was affected. A similar case happened with a man who got addicted to Twitter. He started tweeting thirty times every day. Within three years, he had around twenty-five followers. Due to violating his workplace policy of tweeting every hour, he lost his job. He was unable to maintain his relationships that affected his personal life. Due to his Twitter addiction, even his wife divorced me.

Suppose you are concerned that you might be suffering from Social media addiction. In that case, A few of those techniques are –

  • Put a time limit- To limit your screen time, you can put a time limit to different social media applications. After spending the limited time, the app would automatically disable itself, which will help your time spent on social media.

  • Make plans- An individual who tends to spend a lot of time online on social media apps, often experience isolation. It is essential to spend time with other individuals outside your house. They can set a plan, go outdoor, and have met new people. An individual can and schedule their day as it helps in increasing productivity.

  • Social Media Detox- An individual can delete or deactivate their social media accounts like Instagram from their smartphones. This will increase your productivity and decrease the amount of time that they earlier spent on social media.

  • Find a new hobby- It is vital to keep ourselves engaged. An individual can find a new hobby that increases their well-being. It can not be technology related. They can be sport-related like cricket, volleyball, badminton or painting, cooking, etc.

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