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  • Writer's pictureStavros Papagianneas

Curing Social Media Addiction

Whether social media is considered a blessing or a curse is a subject of significant social and scientific debate that can vary depending on individual experiences and perspectives. It is essential to recognise that social media is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, and its impact can be positive and negative.

The bright side of social media is that it enables people to connect with friends, family, and acquaintances, regardless of geographical distance. It has made communication easier and more accessible since its appearance.

Social media provide a platform for sharing news, information, and raising awareness about important issues, such as social justice, public health, and humanitarian causes. It has transformed businesses' operations by providing marketing opportunities, customer engagement, and networking possibilities.

Also, it has facilitated the creation of online support communities for individuals dealing with various challenges, from health issues to personal interests and hobbies. Many educational institutions worldwide use social media as a tool for learning, sharing resources, and facilitating discussions.

Nevertheless, excessive use of social media has been linked to addiction, anxiety, depression, and a sense of inadequacy due to constant comparisons with others. Social media platforms often collect vast amounts of personal data, raising concerns about privacy, identity theft, and data breaches.

Different countries are now taking the first steps to rein in excessive and potentially harmful use of prominent social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. China, for example, wants to limit screen time to 40 minutes for children under eight.

In Europe, France has targeted manufacturers, requiring them to install a parental control system that can be activated when their device is turned on. In Europe, the European Commission wants the Digital Services Act (DSA)to force large online platforms, such as TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube, to open up their systems to scrutiny and prove that they are doing their best to ensure their products are not harming children. A fine of up to six per cent of companies' global annual revenue could apply.

Curing social media addiction can be challenging, as it often involves changing ingrained habits and behaviours. In addition to efficient legislation, overcoming social media addiction with dedication and the right strategies is possible.

The first step is acknowledging that you have a problem with social media addiction. Self-awareness is crucial for initiating change. Determine what you want to achieve by reducing your social media usage. It might be better focus, improved mental health, more time for productive activities, or stronger relationships.

You can also use apps or features on your device that track your screen time and social media usage. This will help you understand how much time you spend on these platforms. Furthermore, you can establish specific times for checking and using social media. Stick to these limits and avoid aimless scrolling.

Finally, consider deleting social media apps from your phone or disabling notifications to reduce the temptation to check them frequently. Social media addiction can vary in severity, and what works for one person may not work for another. It is essential to tailor your approach to your specific needs and circumstances.

Smartphone use has exploded, with more people getting one at a younger age. If you are struggling to make progress on your own, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or consultant specialising in addiction and behavioural change.

Picture Unsplash

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