Social Media Addiction is as Harmful as Alcohol & Drugs for Millenials
If you go to a concert or restaurant these days, it’s obvious that social media and smartphones have become the rule rather than the exception. Earlier this week as I was grabbing happy hour with a few friends, we realized at one point we were not talking to each other but rather all snapping and posting photos of our fancy cocktails and the pretty appetizer… instead of actually sipping and conversing and chowing down. Looking around the restaurant, we saw at least three other tables, two of which consisted of what appeared to be couples, with their heads down and focused on the screens in front of them rather than the faces.
This article points out that not only is social media prevalent in society, but for many millennials, it is a necessity that some young adults feel a need to get a fix of multiple times a day. This is problematic as the article outlines for several reasons, but how do you curb this addiction? Is it possible to go cold turkey from social media? There is always the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) factor too which I’m sure doesn’t help avoid the addictive feeling of needing to check in and post and monitor responses. I’ve got family and friends spread across not just the US but the world- if it weren’t for social media, I’d miss out my cousin in Tanzania showing her baby crawling for the first time, or family in South Korea visiting a cat cafe (yes… I’m a crazy cat lady), or my friend in Nova Scotia getting engaged. While there are varying moments of importance that are shared on social, we tend to have this fear that we will miss something, from someone, somewhere in the world. Or that our followers, friends, fans, etc… will miss one of our moments and justify the need for constantly checking our phones. But where is the balance of what’s healthy and appropriate versus a legitimate addiction that’s harmful?
I think the best solution, as with any addiction, is for anyone who has this compulsion to feed their fix is to first admit that they need help. Work through it with friends or family together by establishing timelines and rules for checking. Be sure to have real conversations in person rather than opting to text it out. And during a notable event, even if it’s just a happy hour at the latest brewery in town that you have to share with the world, then take a photo or two, get that selfie on Snap in, then put the phone away for the remainder of your time there. And don’t ever check your phone, post, tweet, text, -whatever- and drive! Social media can always wait when you’re behind the wheel.
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