When I was at school many kids never had phones, never mind being able to go online and be involved in any form of social media. Looking around today every child old enough and younger, seems to have a phone and most are constantly on social media. Sitting down to dinner with friends, the phones come out. You have to check in, tag friends, take a picture and the phones remain on the table. During conversations; checking every minute to see if anybody responds or for other messages. It is sometimes very difficult to have a meaningful conversation with somebody who is constantly distracted by their phone. Ixande Rehab in Cape Town is one of the few South African treatment centres that recognizes this problematic behaviour and has trained professionals that know how to treat it.
I cannot prove anything, but I think social media also has a lot to do with some accidents on the road. People are texting and driving, answering their WhatsApp. Sometimes you can laugh at people who are walking, checking their phones and then land up, smacking face first into a pole. This might be amusing, but there are other serious consequences of being obsessed or addicted to social media.
Being addicted to social media can have serious consequences such as a car accident while texting. On the other hand it can also have a negative effect on relationships. Checking to see how much time you spend on social media is a good idea, track your time and if it exceeds a reasonable limit try to cut back.
So what else can you do to help limit the effects?
- When going out or socializing try to turn off the notifications. Without the phone beeping or flashing to notify you of new messages, you can concentrate on the people you are physically with.
- My rule is to put the phone away while driving. You don’t have to answer your friend’s message straight away. When out enjoying a meal with friends, if you can, don’t bring out the phone, leave it in your bag. You’re already sitting with the people you want to talk to for the moment.
- If your addiction is serious, try to set times in the day when you can go online. Give yourself a set time and stick to it.
- Find new interests, like a hobby, this will keep your mind busy on other more constructive things.
- Spend more quality time with family and friends. Put the phone away and go on a picnic or to the beach.
- Sometimes you just need to take a break from social media every now and again. Go away on holiday and leave your phone behind. Occupy yourself with more important things around you. Read an actual book, and not on a Kindle.
- Do you have over a thousand friends on Facebook? Consider bringing that number down by letting go a few of those friends you don’t really know. This helps to bring the amount of different feeds on your page down.
If you suspect you or a loved one shows symptoms of chronic social media addiction then it would be well worth your time considering giving Ixande’s Cape Town Rehab a call to discuss the matter. Social media, such as Facebook can also be a place where you are constantly barraged by negative media. A place where people say things they would not normally say. This is especially true with celebrities; anything they do is scrutinized and commented on in all social media platforms. You don’t need to be a part of all the hype and bad news. Some of the newsfeeds today are all false, so it gets difficult on Facebook and other social media to know what the actual truth to a matter is.
Try taking a 21 day break from Social media, this is the time it takes to develop new neural pathways and therefore form new habits and behaviours. The best way to conquer a social media addiction is to get family and friends to help you, tell them what you are doing and inform them of other means of contacting you. People survived thousands of years before the internet and social media and so can you.