A true social media addiction can be more harmful than it initially seems – it can be the cause of family problems and performance issues at work. Even if you don’t have a full blown addiction to social media, spending too much time on Facebook and other websites can still be unhealthy. For one thing, every moment spent on social media is a moment that isn’t spent with family and friends. Then there is the issue of being too sedentary in general. Spending excess time on social media certainly contributes to that. Whether you are a social media addict, or simply want to cut back the time you spend on social media, here are a few tips that you can follow.
1. Make a list of what you are missing by spending too much time on social media.
If your social media use has become a problem, it’s usually because you are missing out on important things. You can start to work on your addiction by creating a list of the things that spending too much time on social media is costing you. Here are a few common examples:
- Time with friends and family
- Reading books
- Playing sports or engaging in once beloved hobbies
- Time spent developing and improving work-related skills
2. Create other obligations for yourself.
As long as your only alternative to social media is sitting in front of the television, you aren’t going to beat your addiction. Try to find ways to obligate yourself to spend time away from social media and doing other things. If you have kids, volunteer to coach a sports team. You could also sign up to volunteer at a local food bank a few evenings per week. Anything that keeps you busy, and that you don’t feel as if you can blow off, is ideal.
3. Use an app to block social media sites for a period of time each day.
If you truly cannot resist getting on social media, consider using a software package or app that will allow you to lock yourself out of social media sites for a period of time each day. This will give you no option, but to slow down on your usage.
4. Have a plan and schedule for social media use.
Stop blindly surfing social media sites. Instead, put yourself on a schedule that tells you when you are able to use social media, and what activities you will engage in each time you access Facebook and other websites. For example, during the day, you could limit yourself to three visits of no more than fifteen minutes each just to check and respond to messages. Then, in the evening, you could give yourself an hour for recreational surfing and playing games.
5. Purge your friends and groups lists.
The fewer posts and images you have to slog through, the better off you will be. One place to start is by culling your list of friends and groups. Start with friends of friends of friends who you don’t really have a close connection with. Then, move on to people who tend to create Facebook drama. Finally, take a look at the groups you have joined. If you aren’t an active participant, then unsubscribe.
6. Reward yourself for not exceeding your allotted time on social media.
Decide how much time you think is reasonable to spend on social media. Then, for every week that you make it without exceeding that amount of time, give yourself a small reward. Once you are comfortable with that reduced amount of social media time, cut back again.
7. Don’t use late night as an excuse to mindlessly surf.
When it is late at night and everybody else is in bed, it can be easy to justify hopping on social media for a couple of hours. After all, who is it hurting? It’s important to remember that curing a social media addiction is for your own well-being too. Don’t feed your addiction simply because there is nobody around to witness it.
8. Consider limiting the number of sites that you use.
If you don’t use a social media site for work, or to connect with friends and family, maybe you should consider deactivating your account. This will allow you to reduce the time you spend on social media while still allowing you to be active on the sites that are important.
9. Take up an offline hobby.
Try to start at least one hobby that does not require using a computer or smartphone in any way whatsoever. This way, you will have something to do besides surf when you become bored. If social media has caused you to lose time with people that you love, a shared hobby may be a great way to reconnect.
10. Try a social media vacation.
Some people find they are best able to curb their addiction to social sites by simply spending a week or two going cold turkey without using them at all. You might find that it’s easier to quit using the sites altogether for a period of time than it is to attempt to moderate your use.
11. Enlist the support of friends and family.
Let your family and friends know that you are working on reducing your social media time. If they feel like they’ve been losing you to your computer, they will be happy to hear about your commitment.
12. Start connecting with people outside of social media.
If you have a person’s home address, telephone number, or email, there is no need for social media to be your sole connection to them. If you establish communication channels that don’t involve getting onto Facebook, you have, once again, one less reason to use social media.
13. Only access social media from one device in one location.
You might also consider turning the bedroom and bathroom into social media free zones.
14. Delete social media games and apps from your smartphone.
Getting rid of these games and apps can remove the temptation to surf while you are out and about. Instead, focus on what is going on in the real world.
15. Hide dramatic statuses (and people).
As much as we roll our eyes at them, it can be tempting to spend too much time reading dramatic status updates and then following along with the fallout that always happens afterwards. If you see a drama-filled post, simply hide it and move on.