This Is The Cause For Your Social Media Addiction. (Hint: It's Not Your Fault)
Here’s a bold assumption: You’re addicted to social media.
Checking your phone is the first thing you do once the alarm rings—and also the last activity before you go to bed. Your hand instinctively reaches for your phone when you’re free, or even in the middle of a chore. You spend hours and hours watching random strangers on the internet play with slime. At the end of the day, you feel helpless about the time you lost on social media.
If that’s not true, congratulations. You have somehow managed to steer clear of the vortex that has sucked in more than half of the world’s population. You’re my hero.
But if it is, then here’s a good news: You’re not alone. Your friends, family, colleagues, and in all probability, most of the people you meet are victims of the same disease. Even me. Which probably doesn’t feel like good news anymore.
However, even before you stumbled upon this article, you knew these things. It isn’t a new revelation. Half the world is talking about it, and most people have found ways to earn a living through our collective suffering.
There have been apps that are designed solely for the purpose of reducing our screen time and encouraging outdoor activities. Yes, apps. That you download on your phone. To reduce your phone usage.
But if that’s the case, and you know that you should be going out and actually socialising instead of mindlessly scrolling on twitter, and you still can’t, what does it say about us? Are we as a community losing control of our actions, or has technology just grown smarter to trick us into spending longer hours on the internet?
The thing is, even if you intentionally decided to stay off social media, there’s a thin chance that you’ll be successful. And that’s because every social media app has been purposely designed to hook you, and your well being isn’t a concern as long as they’re making money. (Click to tweet)
Apps like Instagram and Twitter have designs eerily similar to slot machines. And their consumers are reduced to nothing but gamblers, always optimistic that I’ll get lucky this time.
These apps are addictive because they’re unpredictable. You don’t know what the next tweet will say, or what your friends have been doing this weekend. This innate curiosity is what keeps your social media addiction going. The infinite scrolling feature often leaves us helpless. And without any external factor, we are unaware of when to stop scrolling and get on with our real lives.
What’s worse is that the ploy doesn’t end here. There’s a plethora of tactics, like colour schemes that are designed to attract you, and notifications that suck you in even after you’ve managed to leave your phone behind.
But, just because social media is addiction is common, does that make it any less alarming?
Documentaries like “The Social Dilemma” throw light on the dark realm of the social sphere, but that’s all they manage to do.
Most of us are reluctant to completely abstain from using social media, and rightly so. Refraining from any social media usage would be an impractical, if not foolish, move. It’s a tool around which our identities and lifestyles have evolved, and removing it from our lives so drastically would only lead to failure.
A more rational approach would be to use social media more intentionally. The greyscale feature on most phones is one of the most helpful tools to curb this evil. Having used it for a while, I can vouch for the fact that it exponentially reduces your screen time, though the experience isn’t very pleasant.
Most phones now also have a “focus” mode, allowing users to block distracting notifications while in work mode.
I’m sure there are plenty of other features that have been developed, but that’s a topic that requires its own article.
How do you manage your screen time? Are there any specific strategies that we missed out on? Share it in the comments below!