Social media addiction


Nowadays, if you’re not on social media, you feel like you’re not truly living in the 21st century. Everything from businesses to personal and professional relationships, social media has a strong presence—and with that, a luring temptation to spend even more time using its features.

So, how do you take back the reins of your life and curb your time on social media (and stop social media addiction)? Here are some steps to get started.

1. Think About Why You’d Like to Be on Social Media

Everything we do in life is about intention: why do you want to do something? What will it bring you? The same goes for social media use. It may be silly to ask this question when thinking about a Facebook or Instagram account, but if you want to truly control your social media (instead of the other way around), asking this question may truly be eye-opening.

Do you want to just keep in touch with friends, or do you want to promote your business? Getting to the crux of why you’re online will help you clearly mark your time on social media effectively and eliminate everything else.

2. Be Meticulous About Who You Follow and what you post and share

Attention is your greatest currency. Read that again.

Everything that you click on or “like” becomes a thread in the tapestry of what comes back to you on social media newsfeeds. You want to create the kind of information spread that works for you, your needs, and your time. So, often, we impulsively follow people who may not be serving our best interests.

Give yourself permission to clean those contacts out every once in a while! It’s okay to disagree with someone. Instead of plummeting into a rabbit hole of social media thread arguments, unfollow anyone who you don’t connect with. It’s much better for your mental health and helps you get rid of social media addiction.

Likewise, be meticulous about what you share. Are you posting misinformation yourself? Just like you are planning on cleaning up your contacts list, someone who follows you may be thinking of doing the same. Make it a priority to share and post things that not only have significance to you but also serve others.

3. Curb the Time You Spend Online

If you have a laundry list of things to get done but have spent the last three hours scrolling your newsfeed, it’s time to close the app or the computer. Set a timer on your phone, if that’s what it takes to solve your social media addiction.

Once you begin the practice of detaching from being online so much, you’ll notice that you get so much time back! This time has always existed, but you were just using it poorly. It’s not that you don’t have enough time—it’s just that you spend too much time scrolling online instead of being productive.

4. Change Your Notification Settings

If your productivity is suffering because you’re constantly distracted by the pings from your notifications, there are ways to turn those notifications off in your settings. Better yet, you can always delete the apps from your phone and devices and resolve to check your social media notifications on your desktop. This way, you can get back to finishing your work without facing the temptation of checking your messages.

5. Not Everything Has to Be Posted and Shared

It often feels like we’re in a perpetual case of “FOMO” when it comes to posting on social media. If the Superbowl came and went and you didn’t post anything at all, will the world continue to spin? Of course.

We don’t have any social obligation to our followers to keep them abreast of every single event that happens in our life. These are choices that we must make consciously and in alignment with our desires.

Think about the last concert (in the pre-COVID world) you went to—did you immediately post bits of the concert to social media or snapped and uploaded a selfie of you and your friends?

These are habitual things that we don’t even think about, which brings me to the final point…

6. It’s Okay to Put Your Phone Down and Enjoy Life

In fact, this one very simple point could truly help you cut that social media addiction! Precious moments of your life are one in a million—like seeing a shooting star or catching the smile of your favorite person. These moments are so fragile, and they never happen the same way twice in your lifetime.

Don’t run towards your phone to capture that moment. Capture it instead with your eyes and with your heart. Let it become a sweet memory. Enjoy the moment  you’re so keen on sharing with others and instead, prioritize sharing it with yourself.

Final Thoughts

Social media addiction, when left unchecked, can lead us to depression and lack of self-worth and authenticity. If we “follow the flock” in search of creating a perfect online life, we’re stepping further away from being ourselves. This brings about a slew of consequences, which can snowball over time and lead to worse obstacles in our lives.

When we finally learn how to use social media, to what extent, and with what intention in mind, we can take control over it before it takes control over us.

There is no doubt that the advent of social media has brought it with many welcomed and some not so welcomed developments. Social media platforms have revolutionised the way we stay in touch with each other and it has become an integral part of the daily life of many.

While there are many positive roles played by social media, it has many setbacks as recent reports have said that over- or misuse of social media can have a negative impact on self-esteem and mental health, particularly among younger users.

So how and when might social media use be detrimental to our mental wellbeing?


One piece of research posited that tweeting or checking emails may be ‘harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol’. The more social media use becomes an important part of our daily routine, the more we may become too emotionally and psychologically dependent on it. Asides that, addiction to social media affects our everyday relationships, sleep hygiene, or our performance at work or in our studies.

The Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) Factor

Getting into the habit of checking social media at any available time may lead to us checking on impulse. This can lead to us never really switching off or taking time to relax. Many social media users today live in the fear of missing out on an update from a friend or celebrity causing them to constantly check their social media platforms at all available given times.


One thing that makes social media fun is that we get to have a glimpse into the lives of others and keep up to date with them. However, being in constant contact with the lives of others can lead to critical comparison leading to feelings to insecurity. We forget that most of what we see on social media platforms are carefully selected and filtered content and we aspire to unrealistic expectations.


One study has suggested that the more frequently you visit social networking sites the more likely you are to feel socially isolated. However, like many of the studies exploring the effects of social media on mental health, it is difficult to pinpoint causation.


One major headache of social networking is the issue of cyber or online bullying. 70 percent of young people and 40 percent of adults say that they have experienced some form of cyberbullying. The Royal Society for Public Health says that victims of bullying are more likely to experience depression, anxiety and even self-harm.

Anxiety and depression

One study has reported that simultaneous use of multiple social networking sites led users to be more likely to report feelings of anxiety or depression. Those that already have difficulties with anxiety, problems such as body dysmorphic disorder and low self-esteem issues may be compounded by social media.’