Weapons of mass distraction – Digital Addiction

Are you paying attention?

Have you ever looked at the clock and realised you’ve spent the last two hours scrolling through Facebook, snapping on Snapchat, surfing the net or even texting while driving?

This digital culture of constant connection will take a toll on us as users both personally and professionally. We are bombarded with so many messages and alerts that even when you try to focus it is almost impossible.

We are attempting to grapple with a digital overload. Nowadays, “turning off” is simply not a viable option; with so much work, communication, and socialising taking place on screens, few of us can afford to be offline for significant portions of the workday.

How is Social Media a weapon of mass distraction and what is the solution? Follow our steps to a healthier digital life online.

Social media has become an addiction, not only to adults but to kids as well. To prove my point, wake up in the morning and count how many times a day you look at your phone (whether it pings or is silent) how many times do you check TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Linkedin, Instagram, Snapchat, Telegram, Discord, Tinder? Are your kids doing the same? How much time are they spending on a digital device?

Addiction usually refers to compulsive behavior that leads to negative effects. In most addictions, people feel compelled to do certain activities so often that they become a harmful habit, which then interferes with other important activities such as work or school.

What makes social media so addictive?? Well that’s an easy answer — It’s because it is an extension of ourselves and it is how we communicate.

Here are a few ways that I believe social media is keeping us hooked:

  • Social validation is an important part of being human. A Facebook ‘Like’ or a Twitter ‘Favorite’ is a social signal that makes us feel good, but this comes at a a price.
  • Fear Of Missing Out, (FOMO) this is also called the ‘pull to refresh’ feature. This is a large driver of social network use, particularly for those aged thirty and under.
  • Ego needs a platform to showcase itself and social networks are the perfect answer. We live in a ‘Me’ society with an obsession of the ‘self’ that drives us to update our status and tag ourselves in photos (but only those that we look good in of course).
  • Social comparison and self-esteem increase. People compare themselves to assess feelings, strengths, weaknesses, abilities and perspectives. Having your social connections reaffirmed makes you feel good.

 

There is no doubt that Social Media design features are effective, however what is good for their company profit is definitely not great for your mental health.

Follow this digital detox challenge to a healthier digital life online:

  1. Monitor your screen time, but don’t become obsessive. You’ve downloaded an app to observe how much time your spend on each one of your devices. Don’t defeat the purpose and continue to watch the app watch you…
  2. Take lunch without a screen. Go outside (weather permitting) and enjoy your lunch and digital hiatus. Having a blank headspace when you go back to your desk will get those creative juices flowing.
  3. No screens with one on ones. Ever have dinner and everyone at the table is on their phones texting, playing a game or flat out ignoring any form of communication? By changing your own habits, you will start a ripple effect of no digital devices during ‘family or friend time’.
  4. Spring clean your screens. Take a good look at your applications on your phone and DELETE what you don’t use. Out of sight, out of mind…
  5. Charge your device in another room. Build small boundaries between you and your device. Ensure that the ring is on loud (people will phone you in an emergency) but give yourself some valuable time to unwind.
  6. Ditch the digital junk. I refer to this as the jam doughnut effect. I love jam doughnuts but I can’t eat one everyday with looking like one. Understand what your problem application is and get rid of that.
  7. Text less, Talk more. Pick up the phone for those all important conversations! It is easier to send a message or a voice note but sometimes the best things in life take time.
  8. When all else fails. Put your phone onto greyscale mode, it’s so frustrating that you don’t want to use your phone, but that does not mean you turn it back, if you’re like most people you actually won’t know how once it’s done. (insert evil laugh)

Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.

For more information on how to keep yourself, your business and your family safe online. Follow Cyber Angels SA on any of our Social Media channels.

Written by: Robyn Bartlett