How to Cut Back on Social Media

Social media has become a vital way to stay connected to our friends, family, and sometimes those on the other side of the country. Social media has been beneficial to us as a society from helping spark the Metoo Movement and bringing more awareness to #BlackLivesMatter. However, our constant need to stay plugged into our phones can make us addicted to social media.  Our brains release a chemical called dopamine when someone likes or comments on our post. Dopamine makes us feel enjoyment, pleasure, and excitement. It has us seek out certain things such as food, sex or drugs to feel those certain emotions. Have you ever notice that once you post a picture, you regularly wait to see how many likes or comments it gets?  Because once you received the number of likes or comments,  you feel joyous due to the release of dopamine in your brain and the feeling of instant gratification. Researchers have even compared excessive social media use to drug addiction. 

If you find yourself becoming too attached to social media here are four tips for cutting back on social media:

1. Give Yourself a Time Limit If you feel that every 5 seconds you are checking your Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook it is best to start setting time limits to how long you are on these sites. Any addiction is hard to quit cold turkey, so slowly begin by taking either 20 or 15 minutes out of the day to check our social media instead of spending hours scrolling through it.

2. Focus on hobbies, friends or family Sometimes when we occupy our self with friends, family, or hobbies, we tend to focus more on them than our phones. According to National Public Radio, young adults who spend more than two hours a day on social media are more likely to feel isolated, lonely, and depressed. Humans need face to face interaction; it helps us feel connected. Go out to lunch with your friends or search for new hobbies you would like to take up that will help you become more connected with the outside world instead of the social media world.

3. Turn off the notifications on your phone When you turn off the notifications on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you will probably check your phone less frequently. Without those nagging notifications popping up throughout the day, you might find yourself spending less time on social media since you do not have the urge to check it. Also, try putting the apps in folders if you find yourself wanting to go through your social media because the app is in front of your phone.

4. Delete the number of social media apps on your phone Having too many social media apps can make you check each one throughout the day. If you get bored with one social media app, you move on to the next one, and eventually, it becomes a habit. Try limiting the number of social media apps to one or two. When you get bored with the one social media app on your phone, you might try to find ways to be more productive throughout the day.