A junkie in need of a fix? You? That’s just ABSURD, right?
After all, you don’t abuse alcohol. And you certainly don’t take illegal drugs. So how could you POSSIBLY be an addict?
Well, it turns out drugs and alcohol aren’t the only things you can become dependent on. Because as strange as it sounds, social media can be every bit as addictive.
And a new study proves it.
When Michigan State University researchers gave volunteers a series of addiction tests, the results blew them away.
Folks who spent the most time online surfing sites like Facebook were nearly indistinguishable from those who were addicted to heavy duty drugs such as opioids or cocaine.
They showed the same tendency to make risky decisions.
In other words, they reacted to the time they spent on social media in much the same way an addict reacts to a fix.
Social media helps keep us connected
We need more studies on the topic before we FULLY understand what the internet is doing to our bodies and brains. But these findings, and others like them, are already setting off some alarm bells.
And experts warn becoming TOO dependent on Facebook, and other forms of social media, could become a serious problem for some folks.
But let’s face it, the internet and social media are here to stay. And frankly, most of us like it that way.
They help us stay in touch with friend and family. Plus they keep us informed about what’s going on in the world, as well as the issues that matter the most to us. And let’s not forget, they’re FUN too.
In other words, completely logging off isn’t really an option.
Take the 2-minute Online Addiction Test
So how can you be sure YOU aren’t a Facebook addict? Easy, take this quick, two-minute Online Addiction Test.
It can help reveal if the time you spend on social media is healthy or harmful. Just answer the following 10 questions HONESTLY.
- Do you often lose track of time, or spend more time online than you meant to?
- Do you try to hide how much time you spend on your computer and smartphone?
- When you can’t be online or leave your phone at home, do you feel anxious or irritable?
- Do you use your phone at inappropriate times, such as in a movie, at dinner, or while driving?
- When your phone pings with a new notification, do you feel you MUST check it?
- Do you find yourself checking your favorite websites even though you know not enough time has passed for anything new to be posted?
- Do you ignore people you’re with to spend more time online?
- When people interrupt your online time, do you feel irritated or angry?
- Have you ever tried to quit Facebook or social media, only to go back in a few days?
- Do YOU feel you spend too much online?
Break your social media addiction
If you answered “YES” to five or more of these, there’s a good chance you have an online addiction.
But if that’s the case, don’t worry. These simple tricks can help you gently break your addiction, while still allowing you to enjoy your online time.
Start by cutting back but NOT trying to go cold turkey. Staying connected online is the new normal. So don’t bother to fight it. Instead, just rein in how MUCH time you spend there.
If you usually spend five hours a day online, start by slicing off an hour and then two. And schedule shorter but more frequent windows so you don’t have a chance to get antsy.
Switch off MOST of your notifications on your phone. Since you still want to be reachable, you can leave text and phone calls notifications active, but turn everything else off. When you have every Facebook friend update and newsflash pop up on your screen the urge to keep checking in never goes away. Wait for your scheduled online time to catch up on those things.
Enlist your friends to help you cut back. Tell them you’re working on reconnecting in person. Whenever you get together, agree to leave your phones at home or at least in your purses and coat pockets.
Don’t let a social media addiction control YOUR life. Use these tips to help break your social media addiction starting today.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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