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The Era of Digital Addicts

“Start with big dreams and make life worth living.”

– Stephen Richards

The Era of Digital Addicts

Smartphone, laptops, iPads, tablets, are incredibly necessary in today’s busy world. There are certainly some great benefits associated with social networking. Social media sites represent self-identity, self-expression, business and community building, global awareness.

But there is a major underlying problem beginning to creep into our lives. Research is showing we are trying to present the perfect ideal life, the perfect relationship, the perfect dinner, the perfect holiday, even the perfect flawless face – but creating it all through a false digitalized world. For us we rely too heavily on social media to be socially accepted. We have a lot to thank social media for, by helping us connect, market and socialise. But too much of a good thing is well, not so good.

We all know the feeling, we a post a picture on Facebook or Instagram and then every time we check our phone, it’s like pulling on the slot machine handle because we are waiting to get, a text, a like, a love, a gasp, a comment or a share. And when the likes and the loves pop up it floods our brain with dopamine gratifying our self-esteem. The same applies to dating apps. The average person installs 2 dating apps hoping they might get the perfect match. We literally have become digital addicts.

(Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical responsible for sending messages between the brain and different nerve cells of the body. The brain includes several distinct dopamine pathways, one of which plays a major role in reward-motivated behaviour. Most types of rewards increase the level of dopamine in the brain, and many addictive drugs increase dopamine neuronal activity.)

Social Media platforms want you to use it in particular ways and for longer periods of time because that is how they make their money. It’s one way of hijacking our mind to form a habit. But it is becoming a bad habit for many and steers us away from what really matters in life – our personal growth and development.

According to the latest report from RSPH and the Young Health Movement (YHM) Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. The average person touches their phone a whopping 170 times a day. Instagram is the worst social media network for wellbeing and mental health, who surveyed around 1,500 young adults. While the social platform got points for self-identity and expression, it was also associated with high levels of FOMO, (fear of missing out) anxiety and depression.

The five most popular platforms were given a net average score which were used to establish the following table rankings:

1. YouTube (most positive)
2. Twitter
3. Facebook
4. Snapchat
5. Instagram (most negative)

Unrestricted usage of social media has a negative impact on employee productivity. Employees now spend more than 32 per cent of their time on social media every day for personal work, which is an average of 2.35 hours.

13 per cent of total productivity is lost owing to the social media indulgence alone. In fact, somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of people admit they don’t go online for anything necessary, but rather to kill time or be entertained. Social networking tends to kill productivity, despite many having the excellent ability to multitask. People get distracted too easily.

Ways to stop your social media addiction

  • Acknowledge you have an addiction and you need to commit to reducing SM time.
  • Count how many apps you have on your mobile. Identify the false fixes. Ask yourself which one is taking up too much of my time and is it really necessary to have on my phone.
  • Strip yourself of Technology for 2 weeks and prioritize what is important to you, your career, your family, your personal growth and development.
  • Implement some rules like no technology in the bedroom, no mobiles on the table when eating dinner with family or loved one.
  • Put the phone away from your desk while you are at work. If you can’t do this because you need your phone, disable notifications and disable social media sites during working hours.
  • Spend more time with your loved ones but without the phone out of sight even if it’s for an hour.
  • Think before you type. Avoid being the keyboard basher.
  • Get a new hobby – Read more physical books and go training
  • Moderation is key and should be regarded as a digital diet. We need to find a happy medium balance when using Social Platforms
  • Meet people IRLLive in the moment and make your Personal Development and growth a priority