For many, social media can become addictive. While social media addiction is not designated as a mental health disorder, spending too much time on social media can have negative impacts on your mental health. A 2013 study from the University of Michigan showed a correlation between high use of social media and decreased mood.
Signs of addiction
As medical director for The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt, a premier program of one of the nation’s top psychiatric hospitals, I’ve seen firsthand how social media addiction is taking a toll on college students. Here are some of the signs of social media addiction I look for: you get depressed or anxious when you forget your phone or don’t have wi-fi; you check your newsfeed as soon as you wake up; you use social media to forget about your problems; you stay up too late, or are late to appointments, due to social media use
If these sound familiar, there are a few easy ways to change your behaviors. Often, you can take control of your apps and turn off notifications. Without constant reminders that your friends are posting updates, you won’t feel as compelled to check your apps. Without the constant notifications, it’s easier to not give social media the power to interupt your day. You can choose to use your phone on your own time – start out by scheduling one or two social media ”check-ins” each day. Eventually, you’ll be able to disconnect from your phone. Try using airplane mode when you need to focus; social media will still be there when you turn data back on.
Keep your mind healthy in the age of social media with these tips. Be a joyful user of your smartphone without letting it use you.
Dr. Thomas Franklin, Medical Director, The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt, [email protected]