Social Media: When is it too much?

If you have preteens or teens you may worry about their social media use, and rightly so. However, we as adults can also get swept up in social media much like our kids can- when is it too much of a good thing? 

Social media can be a great platform for self-expression, for sharing and receiving information, and for connecting with others. However, there is a dark side to social media. Social media use is associated with increases in depression and anxiety. People tend to compare themselves to others- despite the fact that social media never reflects a true picture of someone’s life- only what they would like others to see.

A significant amount of time can be lost spending time on social media; it’s easy to spend hours on end without even realizing it!  People can start to carve their lives around their social media feed. A lot of time is dedicated to thinking about and focusing on what they will post, instead of focusing on their loved ones around them. How often have you sat with your family, looked around and noticed everyone is on a device? Maybe you’ve tried to insist your kids put their devices away- but found you struggle yourself not to constantly check your phone? This is no surprise, according to author Stephanie Lam, the average American checks their phone 80 times a day!

So here are a few signs that it may be time to reduce your social media use:

  • Do you find yourself constantly taking pictures throughout your day or selfies for social media? Do you feel the urge to share all aspects of your day, including meals you may be eating?
  • Do you grab your phone first thing in the morning to check for notifications, or wake in the night to do so? Have you lost sleep due to your social media use?
  • Do you check your social media multiple times throughout the day, even when doing chores or sitting down at work?
  • Have you gotten behind at work or school because you’ve been on social media instead of doing what you’re supposed to?
  • Do you find that you prefer emailing, texting, or using social media to having conversations with people in person?
  • Do you have many friends on social media but few in real life?  Do you have less interest in connecting to friends that are part of your real life than you used to?
  • Are your online friends people you wouldn’t actually spend time with in person? 

If you have answered yes to any of these- Think about if social media is something helping or hurting your life? Is it time to take a step back? Remember that you’re an example for your kids too, and it’s important to show them how to have a healthy relationship with social media!