Everyone has a vice. Whether some people choose their vices to be exercise or vocational activities, others may choose to use drugs or alcohol. Typically, those of an older generation will recognise these and may have dabbled with one or more of them. However, there is a new vice that has joined the fold and whilst it’s effects may not be as obvious as over exercising, drinking or taking drugs excessively. Whilst the concept of social media isn’t new, it being a source of ‘release’ as a vice is still relatively new.
Whilst accessible to everyone, it appears that at current those born between 1984-2005 are more prone to becoming addictive to social media, which in turn is exposing them to more potential harm in their general emotions, relationships and behaviours. We can mock those who say they are addicted to social media, but when these so called ‘addicts’ are put into situations in which they cannot be instantly connected to the outside world, the withdrawal share similar effects to their much ‘harder’ core components.
Sufferers can experience feelings of anxiety and can appear agitated. There is a term that has now be coined as ‘nonophbia’, in which avid phone users have a phobia of leaving the house without their phone. Dr Kim Ki Joon, found, from a study he conducted earlier this year in Hong Kong, that people were perceiving their smartphones as an extension of themselves and were becoming personally ‘attached’ to their devices. Meanwhile, similarly in an American study, they found that the requirement to always be connected leads to’fear fof missing out, need for human touch and depression. They determined that it is an important public health challenge, that needs to be addressed due to the damning connotations that it has being closely linked with poor mental health outcomes.
Like any addiction, in order to get that feeling of pleasure, users are now increasing the amount of time they spend online, which also means decreasing their energies spent into other day-to-tasks. Even when online social interaction is stopped once the user has gone offline, it won’t be long before the activity is restarted and they are back online, with millennials reporting that they compulsively check their social networks and notifications.
If you have noticed that you have started to become more agitated of late, in regards to your phone and social media, there are ways you can reduce this if you stick at it long enough.
We appreciate that it’s not practical to go completely cold turkey from being digitally connected, especially in a workings sphere, however simple things such as not using your phone at meals and before bed are a good way of metaphorically switching off. Also telling friends and family that you are going to try and be less online amongst the social media community is also a good way of detoxing. Most young professionals are familiar with that feeling of having been on their phones too long, whether it’s mindlessly swiping on dating apps or becoming immersed in a thread of videos and hyperlinks.
Ease yourself out of the monster grip of social media and be happier for it.