I cannot go for more than 5 minutes without checking my phone. It’s such a problem. I didn’t really think it was a big deal, but my friends and various significant others often tell me that I’m obsessed with social media. I’m always checking notifications to see how many likes my newest Instagram post got, or if anyone new followed me or commented on a picture. My feed is themed, and I’m almost at 2,000 followers who all adore the filters I use. I’m an avid fan of Snapchat and have a couple streaks that are over 500 days. I habitually snap my breakfast in the morning and during classes- all of which are time-stamped of course. While Snapchat and Instagram take up the majority of my time, I tweet at least once a day and post on Facebook as well. Last week, I was so busy editing a bunch of pictures to fit my Lo-Fi theme (this week is Inkwell and 90s grunge), that I didn’t get to submit my homework on myMathLab, and this isn’t the first time that’s happened. What should I do?
First of all, know that we all have our guilty pleasures, and it is ok to take some “me time” doing what you love. No one can judge you for that. However, when you start taking too much “me time,” problems can arise. It is important to set and keep priorities within your life. Try to write down a list of the things you believe are most important to you, in order. Personally, I rank my education and health above extracurriculars and social activities. On your list, be honest. If you find that social media is towards the top and takes priority over other items that are generally seen as important, write a second list. This second list should be a goal that you would like to reach, with social media listed as not as important.
If it is difficult to simply put your phone down, try to make a plan for yourself to use it less and less every day. Ask a close friend to help you out: if you spend time studying with them, they could guard your phone so you do not constantly check it.
During class, shut your phone off and slide it into your bag in a hard to reach place. The key is to make the difficulty in accessing the phone serve as a deterrent. You do not want to ruffle in your bag too much or your professor will catch you and you will get in trouble. Placing your phone at the very bottom of your bag underneath several of your books can help prevent this.
Another way to limit constantly checking your phone is to turn off notifications and I do not mean to just flip the switch to “Do Not Disturb.” In Settings, turn off notifications for social media apps specifically, so “1 New Comment” does not pop up on your lock screen, urging you to unlock your phone. It is still important to remain available in case of an emergency, which is why I advise against cutting cold turkey.
There are plenty of ways to deal with obsessions like this. It is important to know that you are not alone and that you have people who can help you. Remember, the first steps are always admitting you need some help.