Have you wondered how your life would be without social media? Ever thought, how much time do you spend on social media every day? In fact, an average person spends about two hours on social media every day, and compulsive use of social media leads to numerous behavioral addiction traits. Taking a break from social media is essential as continuous usage can take a toll on your psychological well-being in the long run. Read on to know the reasons to quit social media right away.
What begins as just a couple of minutes of relaxing while sipping your coffee easily turns into hours of scrolling and consuming unnecessary information.
By the time you catch up with everything and decide to leave your smartphone aside, your energy levels are drained. Unfortunately, the cycle repeats itself several times a day, hampering your productivity. And some even fall into the trap of depression.
Moreover, people are unable to enjoy special moments because they were too preoccupied to record everything, take photos, post about it online, or share it with their friends.
What’s even more terrifying is to see parents lose their 3yo to cancer and staying online on the day of the funeral, posting photos of the child, and telling everyone how much they missed her.
Yes, each person has their own way of expressing joy or grief, we agree. However, some people are so desperate to tell the world about their experiences that they forget to feel.
From the food we eat and the people we date to the stuff we buy and the places we visit, do we have to post about everything on social media? Do we have to pretend to be someone else, only for other people to like us?
The Negative Effects of Social Media – 10 Reasons to Take a Break Now
Let’s have a look at some shocking effects and reasons to quit social media.
1. Reduces Self-Confidence
Sure, social media helps connect friends and reduce loneliness to some extent. But research shows that overall life satisfaction and self-esteem are shattered by the daily consumption of social media platforms. The likes and comments are just a hormonal boost and don’t help improve self-confidence.
There are plenty of research studies showing a significant link between social media usage and its adverse effects on young adults’ self-confidence.
Even though people use online forums to gain information and connect with their acquaintances, friends, and family, the study has concluded that most people end up making upward and downward comparisons, aka social comparison with others. The study also highlights that people with low self-esteem spend more time on social platforms, especially Facebook.
As a result, the confidence levels of individuals making such comparisons are affected in the long run. Especially young females have more trouble accepting their bodies as celebrities on their social networks seem to have flawless skin and perfect bodies, ultimately lowering their self-esteem levels daily.
2. Long-Forgotten Is The Art Of Living In The Present
Consuming so much unwanted information has sadly become a trait for all of us. We wake up to our phones and open our timelines every ten to fifteen minutes just to check if there’s something interesting happening. With a constant thought of showing off your life to others, you tend to forget to live in the present.
To simply be in the moment you’re experiencing can be tough, especially if you’re highly active on social media.
For instance, whether you’re on a beach or at your birthday party, you constantly tweet, check in, post updates, or stories only to crave attention. The constant urge to check your notifications, likes, and comments has ruined the true meaning of connecting as a community.
To be in the present and fully embrace the moment’s feelings is bliss that we cannot just express in words. Put down your phone, forget social media for a while, to taste the experience of life without notifications.
- When was the last time you went fishing or hiking with your buddies?
- When was the last time you played in the rain?
- And when was the last time you really had fun without posting it online?
A social media detox can help you live in the present and create memories for a lifetime.
3. Excessive Use of Socials Can Cause Addiction
A study published in May 2017 funded by the University of Milan found that excessive use of the internet induces behavioral addiction similar to gambling.
When users were forced to end their prolonged Internet sessions, users displayed “withdrawal-like” symptoms. These symptoms were similar to those expressed by sedative drug addicts.
Other common symptoms one can experience while quitting social media:
4. Increases Physical Inactivity
Studies have shown a prominent relationship between social media use with physical activity.
For instance, a study was carried out comprising female students who regularly engaged in social media. Students who were physically active with frequent usage were more likely to indulge in vigorous exercises, thereby leading to obesity and poor self-image.
Whereas students who lead a more sedentary lifestyle with frequent social media usage were less likely to indulge in intense exercises daily.
Henceforth, if you lead a life where you’re physically inactive due to the work environment, it’s possible that consumption of online websites can make you more sluggish of any physical activity.
5. Creates False Connections And Destroy Real Ones
Steven Strogatz, from Cornell University, cites that social media negatively affects real-life connections. Further, another study found that users who dedicate too much time and energy to the casual, meaningless relationships they develop online are more likely to neglect their real-life relationships.
Also, 30% of Tinder users are already married, and Forbes goes even further, connecting these websites to divorce, lack of personal attention, arguments, jealousy, infidelity, and distrust.
Try to spot and dodge “connections” who pretend to be single when you know they are married or in committed relationships, who initiate contact only to seek an affair, or who befriend you only to benefit them.
6. Most People Lie Or Distort The Truth On Online Platforms
Another reason for taking a break from social media is that it distorts actual reality. According to Naked Security, approximately 75% of online users lie about themselves.
Daily Mail gave a few intriguing examples of lies spread by the users through their social media accounts. They ranged from intense photo-editing and lying about everyday activities to inventing new people and relationships.
Social media users are free to choose the information and photos they share. How many of us care to share the not-so-pretty side of life on social media? Selfies crying, fighting with their loved ones or emptying the fridge to get over a bad day. Have you yet seen any of these on Insta or Snapchat?
To avoid seeing the fake life of other people is yet another compelling reason to quit social media.
7. Excessive Use Can Lead to Depression
According to a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, the risk of depression among young adults is closely related to the time the user spends on social media and the number of platforms they use.
Moreover, heavy virtual users are more vulnerable to depression than occasional and moderate users. This is another reason to quit social media.
In collaboration with the Young Health Movement, the Royal Society for Public Health published a study that links virtual websites’ usage to increased anxiety and depression and deems Instagram the worst social network for young adults’ mental health.
Do you remember how the movie ‘Avatar’ caused depression among the audience, as people realized they would never experience a world as beautiful as Pandora’s?
It also happens on social media as well. Users feel depressed when they realize they can’t match their “friends’ achievements” in terms of finances, vacations, acquisitions, fun, relationships, followers, etc.
8. Cyber Bullying Thrives on Social Media
According to the same study of the Royal Society for Public Health, 70% of young adults are victims or witnesses of social media cyberbullying.
In addition to the above stats, the Futures Company’s “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey” found that:
- 54% of US teens witness online bullying,
- most of them on Facebook (39%),
- followed closely by YouTube (29%),
- and Twitter (22%) and Instagram (22%).
We all witnessed or were victims of some form of bullying in school. In real life, the school and the victims’ families can do something about it. Online, however, the measures available against bullying are few and ineffective.
Moreover, the more connections the victim and the bully have, the higher the shame and the suffering is.
Staying safe from online stalkers is essential. Try to limit sharing too much personal info on your profile and remove the privacy setting ‘public.’ Opt for private or only connections as the data-sharing setting on your social accounts.
9. Poor Sleep Quality
A 2016 study links the use of social media to sleep disturbances, especially in young adults. The Royal Society for Public Health study confirms these findings as well. People who use social media struggle with poor sleep quality.
Of course, you don’t need studies to tell you that. Every night, instead of going to bed, you browse through the newsfeed, interact with your virtual friends’ posts, or play games. You do this until you’re no longer able to keep your eyes open.
You surely remember at least one instance when you forgot to turn off the volume on your phone. As a result, social media notifications woke you up in the middle of the night or left you with disturbed sleep. Whether you care to admit it or not, using social media is bad for your health, and it’s high time you realize it.
10. Social Media Impacts Productivity
You can’t work at maximum capacity without enough quality sleep. You also can’t focus on the tasks at hand when you keep receiving social media notifications or your virtual friends interrupt you with text messages or video calls.
A Pew Research Center study showed that 77% of workers use virtual apps and websites while on the job, no matter their employer’s policy on the subject. Out of them:
- 34% of respondents do it to take a mental break from their work.
- 25% confess that their use of social media during work hours is entirely unrelated to their job.
- 56% see the use of social media at work as a distraction.
- 22% acknowledge that social media use hurts their work/academic performance.
Are There Advantages Of Using Social Media?
Even though there are gazillion downsides to using social media mindlessly, the truth is there are also advantages if one uses social media intentionally. Let’s take a look at some top benefits of social media in our daily lives.
1. Help Us Stay Informed
Needless to say that with the introduction of social media, it has become easier to keep track of news and information at just a click away. Be it political, business, current affairs- every piece of information is available in real-time on various social media websites.
2. Connects People
Gone are the days when we had to wait for months to receive a reply from our loved ones in the form of letters, but now, we can connect with people across continents without having to think about the distance and time. Social media has immensely helped in connecting people with their friends, families, spouses across countries.
3. Make Friends
With the introduction of social media websites like Facebook, Tinder, and Bumble, it has given access to many youths to befriend strangers from other ethnicities, culture, and nationalities.
4. Discover New Opportunities
Whether it’s building new relationships with professionals or finding the perfect job opportunities, social media’s intentional usage benefits a person with ample fantastic opportunities.
In fact, nearly 15% of job seekers have landed a job by leveraging social media websites.
5. Helps One Express
A survey of 265 students found that students believed that social media opened doors for their self-expression. Also, many teenagers think that they can express themselves more easily on social media.
Hence, we can conclude that social media allows one to voice out their opinions without any apprehension.
What Happens If You Quit Social Media For The Next 30 Days?
If you quit social media, or at least have a social media detox for the next 30 days, you might significantly notice the following changes:
- It helps you live in the moment
- Your morning routine will improve
- Increases productivity
- Your focus or attention span increases
- You care less about others’ life
- It helps you make authentic connections or true friends
- A social media detox can make you achieve more without causing burnout
- Have more time for health & fitness
- More control over your emotions And life overall
5 Steps To Quitting And Taking Break From Social Media
Now that we have discussed social media’s downsides let’s get into practices that will help you have a life even without social media.
1. Limit Your Time
The first step to taking a break from social media would be to limit your time on them. Of course, it’s not possible to altogether quit social media at once. But what you can do is decrease your time by 20-30 minutes from your daily consumption. And slowly increase your time limit before completely eliminating it from the virtual world.
2. Use Social Media App Locks For Taking Mini-Breaks
There are many apps available online that help you restrict your time on apps you spend the most time on. And help in smartphone addiction.
For instance, these are some apps that immensely aid you in dealing with smartphone addiction.
3. Cultivate New Hobbies
Hobbies are a constructive way to engage your mind in meaningful tasks. With the time you’ll be getting in hand now, you can utilize the same in some fun activities.
Here are some fun activities you can do with the available time at your disposal.
- Read a book.
- Experiment with your cooking skills.
- Engage in art and painting.
- Write a gratitude journal.
- Go for a run or workout.
4. Change Notification Setting
Notification is distracting.
In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, it is believed that push notification demolishes one’s productivity levels.
Ensure that you have turned off push notifications on your phone so that every time you’re doing a task, notifications from Instagram and Facebook don’t distract your focus.
5. Set New Traditions With Family & Friends
You don’t want social media to jeopardize your relationship with your friends and families. So, instead of spending the whole day on your phone screen, consider interacting with real people in the real world.
Maybe you haven’t met with your best friend for a long time to the coronavirus pandemic. So, why not invite them to your place and have a small get-together, obviously while adhering to the safety and precautions.
Also, take your family out on a nice dinner once a week or catch up with your colleagues for a beer. Believe it or not, you’ll feel much refreshed and happy after meeting physically with your pals and loved ones.
Will You Accept the “Taking a Break from Social Media” Challenge?
Social media is the new addiction, perhaps more dangerous than smoking and drinking. This is because it is disguised as something good and valuable. You think you’re communicating, making friends, relaxing, sharing your good and bad with others.
However, in reality, you reveal personal information and photos to people you know nothing about. Moreover, you put your heart and soul into meaningless relationships. And you neglect the things that matter: your real friends and family, the job that pays your bills, and even your health.
At this point, you probably disagree and assure yourself that you are in control, that you use it with measure and reason.
If that’s true, you’ll have no problem accepting my challenge: take a break from social media starting today!
Firstly, disconnect your accounts and turn off any notifications. Additionally, invest the time you would have spent online into the things and on people you love! After a couple of days, you should be able to assess the results yourself.
Read more to understand how digital distraction impacts our wellbeing.
Key Takeaways on Taking a Break From Social Media
- Social media has become part and parcel of everyone’s life these days.
- It has many incredible benefits if one uses the platform intentionally.
- For instance, websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide us information, connect us with people across different countries, helps us make friends, are a tool for expression, and make us discover new opportunities.
- However, the misuse of these platforms can potentially lead to adverse effects as well.
- A study claims excessive usage can induce behavioral addiction similar to gambling.
- Along with that, there could be withdrawal symptoms one could experience while quitting social media.
- These withdrawal symptoms may look like feeling anxiety, moodiness, depression, and boredom.
- Furthermore, these virtual platforms create false connections and distort reality.
- Another study found that excessive social media usage increases the risk of depression among young adults who spend time online.
- Also, cyberbullying thrive in the online world, and most young adults become a victim of it.
- Lastly, social media is a significant cause for poor sleep quality and deprived productivity levels at work.
Why should one think of taking a break from social media?
One should always consider taking a break from social media because of the following reasons:
- It can turn into an addiction.
- Social media platforms create false connections and destroy real ones.
- It distorts the truth and creates a false reality.
- Can lead to depression.
- Excessive use of social media leads to poor sleep quality.
- Impacts work productivity negatively.
How does life without social media feel like?
Without social media, life would be like:
- You’d have more privacy.
- You won’t bother about other’s judgments on social media.
- Appreciating the moments without posting them online.
- No longer obsessing on looking perfect on Instagram.
How to quit social media?
- Limit your screen time.
- Utilize app locks on your mobile.
- Indulge in hobbies.
- Change your notification settings.
Let us know how it all went and whether you think it was worth it! Drop your comments below and help others come out of this addiction. Also, do share this piece of information with family and friends.