Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Clubhouse and many more. Social media is getting more and more in our lives every day.
With the spread of mobile phone usage and faster and easier access to the internet, our dependency on social media has increased even more. These social media tools, which are basically a networking platform, are not only used for networking today.
The social media platforms have also become our main resource for diverse purposes, from being our official identity for membership to different sites and applications to news and information resources.
According to Statista, the average daily time spent on social media was 145 minutes per day worldwide. Our dependency has reached such a level that issues such as social media detox and social media break are on many people's agenda.
Why is there a great curiosity about how to take a social media break? In this blog, we have compiled topics that can be a disadvantage or even harm our health at some point.
Is social media harmful?
In fact, as in many other issues, this question doesn't have a single correct answer in terms of social media usage. The answer to this question may vary according to each person's own habits, lifestyle and expectations.
Self-control and self-assessment should be your guide through understanding if social media cause any damages to you.
What are the possible negative aspects of social media?
Perfectionism, insecurity and self-esteem
We all know that social media identities are not completely true in many ways. These manipulations can take many different forms. On the one hand, there are filters and photoshops, and on the other hand, there is the fact that these reflections are only the highlights of the lives.
In other words, filters are not just visual; we also filter our troubles, problems and sorrows in our lives. Although we are aware of this fact, it can be hard to prevent jealousy, insecurity and loneliness.
Due to stalking and constantly comparing yourself and your lifestyle to others on social media, you can unconsciously cause damage to your self-esteem.
If you are interested in learning more about social media and self-esteem, you can check our blog, "How does social media affect our lives?".
As you become more aware of how much time you spend scrolling down on social media and with what you engage specifically, you may realize how it actually affects you. At this point, maybe a social media detox can help you. But be true to yourself. If you take a full-time social media break but wonder what is going on all day, it will not do you any good. Instead, you can limit your daily usage of social media apps with screen time apps.
Fear of missing out (FOMO)
When you are checking your social media accounts, you are constantly imposed on your friends, influencers, and celebrities' endless fun and activities. Even though we know that life is not all about fun and happy moments, it can cause us to feel left out and alone. These feelings may trigger anxiety, depression and an increasing need to check for social media updates even more.
Even though social media platforms are basically networking tools, ironically, they may lead you in the opposite direction. Psychologist Melissa G. Hunt has found that high usage of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat cause an increase in feelings of loneliness.
Moreover, as we get more dependent on social media, there is a risk of losing social interaction skills like empathy and compassion that we need while engaging with people in person.
36.5% of kids aged between 12-17 have been cyberbullied at least once in their lifetime, according to Cyberbullying Research Center. These statistics show that cyberbullying is becoming a more alarming problem nowadays.
Offensive comments, mean judgments, explicit images or texts, online harassment, hate speech, trolling and many other forms of toxic behavior. Even you are aware of the concept of cyberbullying; these behaviors can cause lasting psychological and emotional traumas.
How to take a social media break
Through social media platforms, you can communicate with family and friends worldwide and even find new friends and communities that share similar interests with you.
Social media also can be highly beneficial for raising awareness on important issues. We have all heard the social movements #blacklivesmatter and #metoo, thanks to social media.
You can follow your favorite artists, get inspired, discover new places, communicate with experts and professionals and update yourself from the latest happenings on social media platforms.
There are many advantages that social media brings to our lives. How can we protect ourselves from the disadvantages of social networking without giving up the upsides?
Actually, the answer is simple but perhaps difficult to implement. We need to find a balance between social media and real-life and use social media moderately and wisely.
To be able to use social media wisely with purpose and intention, you need to be aware of the negative effects of social media on you as they differ for every people.
So, it is time for a social media break!
First of all, don't forget that this is just an experiment to assess your dependency on social media. Start your social media detox by deleting your social media apps.
Deleting your social media apps is not an irreversible act; you can easily re-install the apps. Before doing so, just take your time to figure out what you miss, what you think of the most about social media. Also, take notes of the specific times that social media comes to your mind.
If you are able to do so, go ahead and take a social media break for one week to see the changes better. But if you don't believe you can, it is okay; even a 12-hour social media detox can help you monitor your usage and how social media actually affects you.
Find a social media detox buddy
Taking this road with a friend always helps. If you can find a friend interested in taking a social media break, it may help you feel more motivated and encouraged.
On average, we spend 2 hours 25 minutes on social media platforms. So, during your social media detox, you will definitely have more free time. Here is your chance to plan some phone-free activities with your buddy.
Examine your relationship with social media
Sometimes we get carried away without realizing it. In these cases, your loved ones may know you better than yourself. During your social media break, ask your loved ones about what they have been thinking about your social media habits.
Enough is as good as a feast. We all need self-monitoring skills to evaluate our relationship with social media. Taking a social media break can help you assess your social media habits and combat their negative effects.
Many studies have also shown that too much exposure to social media can cause a shortening of attention span. It is crucial to be conscious of social media's downsides to protect ourselves from such negative influences.