Avoiding social media

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As if big tech firms like Facebook etc hadn’t been naughty enough already recently, what with their somewhat ‘careless’ handling of our personal data and their ‘relaxed’ attitude to paying tax, it turns out that creations such as Instagram actually contribute to users feeling sadder, more lonely and more isolated. And obviously that isn’t going to be helpful if you’re feeling depressed. C’mon Zuckerberg et al, NOT COOL.

Why does spending less time on social media help?

According to recent research, using social media can trigger feelings of sadness and jealousy, less well-being, and a greater sense of isolation. One study  found that Facebook use was linked to both less moment-to-moment happiness and less life satisfaction. Another study found a strong link between social media use and feelings of social isolation.

It also seems that comparing our lives with others  is mentally unhealthy. Indeed, one study looked at how we make comparisons to other people on social media and that doing so makes us feel worse about ourselves.

 

Tips

Using social media is addictive, as discussed in this review.  This is probably why we keep coming back to it, even though it doesn’t make us feel very good. We think getting a fix will make us feel better, but it actually makes us feel worse, which comes down to an error in our ability to predict our own response. It’s important to recognise that these apps are designed to be as addictive as possible when you’re thinking about reducing your use of social media.

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4 things you can do right now:

  1. Turn off your notifications. Let’s be honest, nothing breaks your concentration more than an alert on your phone. Disabling notifications means you can focus more easily on your daily tasks.

  2. Try to limit yourself. Use one of these apps to restrict the amount of time you spend on social media every day - Freedom, In the moment, you just need space.

  3. Pick up a new hobby. You might have some spare time on your hands now that you’re not using so much social media so why not try a new hobby or pick up a book?  

  4. Go the whole hog and delete the apps. After a little period of adjustment, you really won’t miss them when they’re gone. I promise.

 

Further reading