Social Media is a place where billions of people post to get followers, likes, shares, and comments to feel good and to be someone.
But what’s the point of sharing your life online with people if you are not truly happy?
And why is Social media bad and toxic that it affects your mental health? Or maybe it isn´t that dangerous after all, and it is the content you consume?
No matter what your opinion is, minimizing the time you spend on social media platforms won´t hurt only benefit yourself.
Social media is designed so that your behavior gets manipulated and makes you addicted.
Your data is compiled by algorithms and compared with other user data, which predicts how you will act. If you like a specific Music Genre or have a special hobby, the algorithms remember this and use it.
Social media platforms sell this information to advertisers to convince them to buy a product or do a certain task. While Google and Facebook, for example, are free, you pay with your privacy.
The randomness of how the content is shown gives the algorithm an idea of what recommendations you engage in and which not. With the help of this data, the algorithm personalizes the content so you spend more time on the platform. On Youtube, for example, when you click on a recommended video, the algorithm remembers this and suggests similar videos you may like. This personalized content is where Social Media sites turn people into addicts.
The random factor of comments, likes, and shares is not predictable, and this element also makes it addictive. Many users upload a photo, and when they don´t get enough likes, they take it down. Then what happens they take 300 new selfies and post them at the right time just to get more likes.
It is not a secret that social media companies hire attention engineers that borrow principles from casinos and gambling. Who help to make the platform as addictive as possible.
Social media is designed so that often the loudest and most unpleasant people get the most attention. Your behavior gets directed to do a certain task to make a purchase or manipulates your opinion.
Fake mobs and society also contribute to these manipulations. Clickbait and Fake news can quickly spread through bots and people. When you see the huge engagement on a post or video, it often appears more trustworthy. But often, these are only fake people and companies that make a profit through these fake numbers.
The high standards for physical beauty and social standing that social media sets make people compare themself even more with each other. It is a big reason why people feel unhappy and jealous of each other. To feel better, users make a competition that has the perfect picture and makes the most meaningful post. The worst part is that comparison and perfectionism on social media increase mental health problems like depression and anxiety drastically.
The perfect manipulation because if you spent time with good friends in real life, you wouldn´t waste your whole time on these platforms. But when you have a negative feeling, you are more likely to get addicted to social media usage in the hopes of more recognition by others and improving your social status.
For the algorithm, we are similar to an optimizable robot, gadget, or computer program. It kills our souls and undermines us as human beings.
The algorithm takes notes of user patterns. When someone wants to log off, social media sites often release stored likes and messages to keep the user on the platform.
Insulting posts, trolling, bullying, hate, and other asshole behavior is very common on social media. But why are so many users have this toxic behavior?
People do stupid things to get social status and recognition. The most attention often, people are getting that behave like the biggest asshole and polarize other users. It is the reason why people more often show this toxic side of themself.
When the social hierarchy for a Person isn´t that important, they tend to be nicer, freer, more creative, and helpful.
But powerful business people and politicians, for example, that deny something like climate change are in a pack mode. Their only concern is their wealth and power, which they only get in the group. That’s why these people can´t discuss with others that are not on the same page. Because no one cares about the arguments of the other group, they stick to their opinion no matter what.
Social Media encourages us to have a pack behavior because it is all about social status and recognition. Which makes people often post more toxic and hateful comments to get attention. This also can benefit certain political parties that don´t welcome different opinions and cultures.
Likes, followers, and views are the numbers that matter on social media; people do almost anything to improve these metrics. Users make a post out of context and without empathy because who cares if you don´t understand the other person, you don´t need to feel for them, either.
People tend to pour their hearts out and talk about a personal part of their life on social media. Some users show support and interest, but often, there is this one guy that trolls and shows his most toxic behavior. All it takes is this one guy that’s making fun of the other person, which can lead to even more mental health issues and self-doubts, and low self-esteem.
Don´t share your problems on social media have meaningful conversations with trusted friends and family in person, or even better, get professional help. Social Media is the wrong place to share any kind of feeling with others because it can make things even worse and not better.
Is it all bad?
No, social media isn´t that bad it mostly depends on the content you view and how friendly you are to other users. The right posts can also bring positive vibes to your own life.
On Social Media, you do what everyone always has done, tell stories, and communicate with each other. The positive aspect is you can connect with people all over the world and keep in touch with Family and Friends.
Social media can be used for good and positive messages. On these platforms, all kinds of different types of organizations raise a lot of funding to help people, animals, and the environment. As these good causes get shared way faster on social media than offline, the needed money and help will be a lot more and come way sooner.
Many social pages share amazing tutorials and useful, inspiring, and motivational content. You can find a lot of entertainment, from funny pictures and memes to videos.
Another form of social media is Linkedin, where you can find a new job and network with individuals in any type of industry. It keeps companies with employers connected.
You have to recognize the problem by asking yourself some questions before you can decide how you minimize the use of social media and your phone.
Why shouldn´t you delete your social media account right away?
You can, but you have to be sure that you don´t need it anymore. Most people get fear of missing out when they can´t access their social media profiles anymore, which is why they won´t delete their accounts.
Did the last time you checked social media feel better or worse?
Everything that puts you down you should unfollow and better follows positive, inspirational, funny, and informative persons and sites
Don´t you hate it when you have unchecked notifications and always check likes and ask yourself why you responded this way?
The best way to avoid this is to turn off all alerts and notifications for unimportant stuff. You should log off from your social media account and close it after using it keeps you away from constantly checking it.
Why shouldn´t you use social media on your phone?
Social media apps for the phone are probably the most addictive usage. It distracts people’s attention from what happens around them and disconnects them from real life. Your concentration also lacks when you scroll without any sense of direction through social media.
The Brain has to put in a lot more effort to maintain focus when you have your phone by your side. As you get distracted way sooner and keeping your attention becomes more difficult. The result is before you know it, you are browsing through social media rather than doing what you intended.
Your short-term memory and long term are also in danger when you don´t focus on an important task. Every time you glance at your phone, your short-term memory is prevented from recalling the information you want to remember.
The same goes for your long-term memory, which starts the journey through the short-term memory. But this process breaks down through phone use, which is why it can´t relocate to long-term memory.
Ask yourself, do you have your phone switched on near your bed and check in the night when you can´t sleep?
When you use your phone in your bed, it affects how you sleep significantly. The different feelings, from happy to sad to anxious, keep you away from rest and relaxation.
The blue light on your phone also tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime, which makes it harder to sleep. So avoiding using your phone before you sleep is a major factor in having a good night’s rest.
To spend lesser time with your social media and your phone, you test how long you can stay away from these distractions. Then you can see for yourself if your habits of using social media are unhealthy and what you can improve to take back your attention.
You can track the time and how often you use social media on your phone with screen time tracker apps. It gives you an idea of how much time you waste on your phone and social media that would be better spent on other, more meaningful activities.
The best is to delete the social media apps on your phone you don´t have to delete your account, and always come back if you want to. But you should experience if you really need to check your social media on your phone constantly or if you are better off without it.
You could only log in when you are at home on your computer or laptop and log out right away close the tab when you checked your account. Logging out can keep you away from getting distracted again.
Make sure you don´t get bored and have a fear of missing out when going offline from social media. To avoid this, you have to find an activity that you enjoy doing or, even better, find a passion in life. You can connect with friends and family in person because it’s often way better than only chatting and seeing what they are doing online. It also gives you time to learn new skills and improve yourself personally and professionally.
If you really want to spend lesser time on social media and your phone, it can help to follow the 30-Day Plan. It gives you an idea of what you should do that helps you stay away from social media and phones.
- (Day 1-2) Keep track with an app of how often you use your phone for social media. Pay attention to how you feel before and after usage. And find out if you can concentrate more when you do a task without getting constantly interrupted
- (Day 3-4) Detect the disappointment when you realize there was nothing new or noteworthy when you checked your account.
- (Day 5-7) Avoid using social media apps, and spend your new free time with other activities.
- (Day 8-9) Disable all your notifications and sound and vibrations, and delete apps that are not essential to you
- (Day 10) Charge your phone, not in your bedroom or a room where you spent most of your time
- (Day 10-12) Distract yourself from other activities like reading, learning, or sport.
- (Day 13-14) Establish phone-free zones in your home a good place is the dining table
- (Day 15-16) When you constantly try to reach for your phone, tell yourself to stop and breathe, then ask yourself if it is really important to check your phone right now.
- (Day 17-18) Try an exercise where you have to focus and concentrate on yourself, it will improve your resistance.
- (Day 19-20) Switch off your phone and let people know before you do it works best on weekends
- (Day 21-23) Reflect on your phone free time and recognize what you like about the distraction-free time
- (Day 24-26) Clean up other aspects like your email box and unsubscribe to unimportant newsletters and make a folder for emails that you need to answer
- (Day27-30) Monitor your behavior if you check the phone less frequently. You do a second free phone day if you want. Make a time every month to regularly check if your phone and social media rules are working. It helps you not to fall back into old habits.
Even if you use it regularly again after your break, you may learn something really useful and reconnect with friends and family. Using lesser social media than normally can already help to get overall better mental health.
For some people, it would be better if they didn´t use social media anymore. Because if you spend too much time on social media admiring other people’s lives, you don´t truly live your life, you are just a digital zombie.
Get your life back and have a better attention span, memory, and quality of sleep. It gives you the time to do real-life experiences and chase your dreams and passions.
Social Media addiction Infographic: