Statistics show that 3.1 billion people worldwide are social media users, of which 210 million people suffer from the internet and social media addictions. The average person uses social media 2-4 hours a day, while a teenager spends up to 9 hours a day on social media. If these numbers are anything to go by, we’re doomed to sink faster than we imagined.
It’s not uncommon to see someone even as young as 9 years old, glued to a phone in their hands, and at that moment, you take yourself back to the 9-year-old you, playing in the park with your friends, completely oblivious to any sort of ‘technology’. This technology has clearly replaced traditional forms of socialising, not only with children and teens, but with adults too.
If you find yourself unable to put your phone down despite hours of social media scrolling, you’re not alone. There are 210 million of you, remember? But you can turn this around by taking charge and following these simple steps to rid yourself of this toxic addiction. Chances are, you’ll even set an example for ten other people to follow –
Go on a social media ‘detox’
Set yourself a fixed period of time, i.e. 15 days or 30 days, to pay no heed to any form of social media whatsoever. Delete all the apps from your phone and only use your phone for emergencies or calls. Easier said than done, but the day you successfully complete your ‘detox’, the realization will automatically dawn that you don’t need social media to survive, and you’re just as well happy without it. You can also use this time to think about why you cannot stop scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook. Is it because you genuinely want to know what’s going on with the people in your life and the world around you? Or is it just a matter of habit.
Set a ‘digital time’ for yourself
If you’re not sure of taking a direct plunge with the ‘detox’, start with baby steps by only using social media at a certain time(s) in the day. This can be 1-2 hours a day, but not more. When you reach your limit, gather the strength to put your phone down to avoid going over your limit. Monitor your progress every week, and accordingly, try reducing the time limit. If you’d like even smaller baby steps, set a particular time after which you may not touch your phone, unless to answer calls.
Read a book
Reading is as therapeutic as it can get, and you can just as easily form an addiction reading a good book as you are to social media. It is hard to put down a good read, and if you’re substituting a bad addiction for a good one, there’s no complaining. Ask your friends for a couple of suggestions, or pick out a book for yourself. Once you find yourself completely immersed in reading, you will no longer feel the urge to check your phone.
Learn a new Hobby
It’s always exciting to learn something new, and there’s no better way to keep yourself off social media than to engage in doing or learning a new hobby. This could be anything, from baking to painting to even a new sport. And don’t stop learning. If the hobby you undertake has different levels of learning, try to accomplish all those and maybe even become an expert at whatever it is. You will automatically have better things to a lot your time to.
Spend more time with your friends and family
Use the real world to connect with your friends and family rather than through a screen. Go on trips with them or plan some casual night outs. You can even stay in for a ‘pizza and movie’ kind of night, or play some fun board games. If not either of these, have a fun chit-chat session with them, catching up on all life’s happenings. And leave all phones out of your plans. Chances are you won’t even have to attend to calls because the people who usually call you are right in front of you.