Are you worried your loved one spends too much time on social media and don't know what to do? Consider the signs he or she is addicted, such as frequency of use, impact on daily life, and changes in mental and physical health.
According to a 2014 study, 87 percent of Millennials admitted their smartphones are always within reach. While social media can be a convenient way to keep in touch with friends and family or connect with businesses, a person's posting, tweeting, updating, and chatting can become excessive. If you suspect they do have an addiction then it's important to learn ways you can help, including working with the time and location of their social media use as well as being an accountability partner for them.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?
One of the most obvious signs of social media addiction is how often someone uses or thinks about using it. Does your loved one frequently talk about or check social media, use it to avoid other responsibilities or seem agitated when he or she cannot use it? Have they tried to decrease their amount of time spent using it but have been unsuccessful? Do they attempt to document every part of their life? If you notice your loved one consistently showing any of these behaviors, then it may be time to intervene.
Using social media too frequently can understandably have an impact on daily life. If your loved one is missing work deadlines or falling behind in school, then it could be an indication they are too distracted by social media. Another common sign is if he or she can't begin their day until they've checked their LinkedIn notifications or Twitter feed.
Too much social media use not only affects daily life, but also your loved one's health. If you observe feelings of anxiety, depression, negative self or body image, or tiredness, your loved one may need help.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you've come to the conclusion that your loved one is hooked on social media, then restricting the amount of time they spend on apps and the Internet is one of the best ways you can help them. Have them commit to a daily time limit, such as 30 minutes of social media per day. Show them how they can use their time in other ways such as hanging out with friends or doing hobbies they enjoy.
You can also talk to your loved one about where they use their social media, both in the digital and physical sense. For example, have him or her delete phone apps that can also be accessed by computer, such as Facebook. This decreases the temptation to click on the app during times of boredom. If the problem continues, try deleting the social media apps altogether, at least temporarily.
Talk with them about changing where they physically use social media. Consider placing the computer in a public area of the home to help them be more accountable of their social media use. Have them make a commitment to not use the Internet or phone during family, work, or school time.
Another way to help your loved one with their social media addiction is to be their accountability partner. Talk with him or her about what changes they can make and remind them of the benefits of using less social media. Having someone to check in with regularly can help them stay motivated and be aware of the progress they are making.
If you feel your loved one is hooked on social media, then observe the signs of social media addiction and try these recommendations for how you can help.