It isn’t that long ago that hardly anybody had a mobile phone, never mind anything labelled as ‘smart’, and social media was a term yet to be invented too. Try explaining either of those things to someone born in the twenty-first century and see what fun you have.
Life today is difficult for many to imagine without a way to connect instantly with the world by phone or internet, and to peep into the lives of friends, family and strangers alike through the popular social media platforms.
But is this really a healthy way to live, or is the need to always feel ‘in the loop’ dominating normal life?
Ways we use a Smartphone
We make calls, of course, then there’s texting – with or without the aid of voice recognition technology, perhaps you check the weather, take a picture (or five) or find the inbuilt calculator handy when shopping?
These are all fairly every day, almost mundane things to do. But when it comes to using the phone to access online social media sites it’s a different story altogether. This is where the scary and serious issue of addiction can creep up and take over so easily.
Here are some typical signs that suggest your smartphone habits may be out of control
- You have calluses on fingers from repetitive tapping on the screen.
- Concerned family or friends suggest you give up using the phone for Lent.
- You often refresh the page looking for fresh content when using social media apps.
- Checking sites before sleeping, and if you wake in the night – which you do often – is the only way you can fall back to sleep again.
- You think it’s fine to check social media on the phone when out socially with others.
- Friends and romantic partners avoid going out with you socially.
- You cannot even start to eat until pictures of your food have been artfully taken and shared online.
- You feel resentful or annoyed when a child you are responsible for take your attention from the phone.
- It’s easier to convey feelings through emojis and hope folk figure out what you mean than speak to them face to face.
- You take your phone into the toilet in case you miss something.
- The notification alerts from social media sites wake you up constantly through the night and generally trigger you to open and read them.
This is a wired and connected world, and the assumption that everyone should be contactable 24/7 is not unusual. The pressure to respond instantly to texts or social media messages is intense and can quickly become a kind of learned behavior.
It is possible to break out of this trap, and to use your phone in a way that adds something positive to your life – as it can – rather than stifling meaningful communication, damaging relationships and making you sleep-poor.
This of course applies to your professional life as well. As I’m sure you are already aware, many businesses have excelled over the past decade or so because of their inclusion and activity within these social media platforms, including companies like Buzzfeed and Ladbible.
If you want to improve your presence within these platforms, you can use a service like Social Media Daily for social proof.
It may take some time and effort, or even professional help, but addiction of any kind is a serious thing to tackle.