Be honest: How many times have you checked Facebook today? If you’re like 51% of Facebook users, the answer is “multiple times.” More than 4 out of 10 people also check Snapchat and Instagram several times per day, and the average adult racks up nearly 2.5 hours of daily social media time. Dedicating this much time to the online world can make us less productive, and it may even cause issues with our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Social media connects us with loved ones across the globe and provides unlimited access to funny memes. Unfortunately, there are some downfalls associated with frequent social media use, and checking these favorite apps can easily become addictive. Let's look at how spending too much time on social media can impact our physical and mental health and think about how much may be too much.
Signs of Social Media Addiction
Many of us enjoy our social media time, but some of us feel as if we can’t live without Facebook or Twitter. If we're without it for too long, e get antsy. Though social media addiction isn’t always that obvious. Here are some other signs of an addiction:
- Checking social media sites in bed, either right before sleep or immediately on waking.
- Spending most free time on social media.
- Removing photos if they don’t get enough likes or comments.
- Declining or canceling plans with offline friends to stay on social media.
- Refreshing social media feeds repeatedly to see likes or responses climb.
- Using social media as a distraction from personal problems.
Those who relate to these statements may have a social media addiction. There are solutions, though. One way is to try to break it with smartphone apps and PC programs that limit screen time, but if it's become serious enough to interfere in life activities, it may be time t speak to a therapist or counselor. Even for those who don’t have a serious addiction, though, frequent use can still lead to physical and emotional issues.
Physical Health Concerns Linked to Frequent Social Media Use
Logging hours on social media promotes a sedentary lifestyle, which may lead to weight gain or high blood pressure. Social media use can also shrink the parts of your brain that control impulse control and planning, especially in children whose brains are still developing. Users may also develop neck pain, back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome from frequent screen use, regardless of the form.
Emotional Damage Associated With Social Media Visits
Many of us compare ourselves to others online or use social media to measure our worth. Some might feel as if everyone has a perfect relationship but them or fear that they or their family aren’t achieving as much as their friends. Looking at photoshopped and manipulated photos may make people feel overweight, unattractive or poorly dressed. Some may even develop symptoms of depression or anxiety.So what's the right amount? It’s okay to update Facebook throughout the week or share pics with Snapchat friends, but don’t let the virtual world take over real life. Social media obsession can jeopardize offline relationships, and it can also destroy otherwise good health. Limiting social media as one would alcohol seem the wisest approach to maintaining health and wellbeing.