Social Media Detox - Quit And Become Free
In this article you will learn how to become free through social media detox. Quit and become free! I really mean it. I’m going to walk you through the problem of social media dependency and how to quit that addiction. I hope you'll realise that to quit social media temporarily from time to time makes you enjoy it even more while letting you keep a safe distance from it at the same time. Later on, I’m also going to reveal to you what most people don’t seem to realise, which is: why it actually matters to be mentally free from social media through regular detox. Let’s dive into it.
First a disclaimer: obviously I’m not going to talk about how to literally quit social media and delete your account, but how to be able to take breaks from it and not become addicted to daily usage. I know it because I myself use social media frequently and can clearly see the dangers, especially for very young people.
a social media anecdote
Imagine this: you wake up in the morning to the alarm of your phone, the first thing you do is you grab for the phone and check your messages or notifications on Instagram or Facebook. Then on your way to work you sit and browse through your feeds and leave your likes on Instagram and Facebook.
During your lunch break you check Instagram and Facebook or Tik Tok or whatever your favourite social media platform is and you engage with the content. Your messenger or Whatsapp rings or vibrates when you get a new message, and you engage with the content, chatting live for half an hour or even more.
In the evening you keep browsing again and sending even more messages or checking whether you got more likes or comments on your latest post. You do the same thing randomly at any time right into your bed time when you’re checking the latest update on your social media accounts before you finally decide to go to sleep.
Realising The Problem with social media
Can you see what I’m already trying to tell you? What I described looks like an unbalanced and random sequence of events with no clear strategy or objective for the day. And because it’s important to improve yourself and live a more conscious life, it’s good to become aware of your daily usage on social media platforms.
You could look up how much time you spent, e.g. on Instagram. Just go to your profile, settings, account, your activity and click the tab time, and you’ll see the numbers of your average daily use. You might be shocked to find out how much time per day you actually spend on browsing and engaging on your smartphone. Now please tell me, without me having to say it to you: do you see any potential problems here?
Understanding The Causes
It’s not that what I’m going to tell you is somehow incredible new insight or a discovery of the year. Somehow everyone seems to have known that, and the most important insights in life are also the simplest ones. So let me state this one simple fact: your daily usage of social media and how you engage with reality through your phone probably sucks. What do I mean?
Before I explain the problem, let me clearly state that I love social media a lot and use it myself almost every day. Social media is just a platform with lots of opportunities for keeping in touch with people, marketing your ideas and products to your audiences, and just for good fun and relaxation. There’s nothing wrong with the medium per se. All I want to do in this article is to show you the dangers and how to avoid them.
But social media is a big thing, for god’s sake, and to deny it or talk it bad for the wrong reasons would be very foolish. Please bear that in mind. So what’s the danger here? Let me list it for you so that even a child can understand it.
Dopamine Addiction through social media
Firstly, social media can make you addicted to this constant seeking of social approval. This is particularly risky for small girls, because their interests are mainly relational, and they seek social approval of their choices on social media. Yes, I am all for keeping small children away from social media. Yes! 100%!
Destruction of focus
Secondly, constant presence on social media destroys your focus. The really valuable things in life are won through much work and focus and also through little sacrifices. Social media is the opposite of that. It’s all about quick viewing, liking, and disposing, immediate gratification is the principle here. This might completely undermine your appreciation for long term goals if you're absorbed by social media too much.
Distraction from real life problems
Thirdly, I get the impression that once your daily job / school is done and you return home, many people might face their inner emptiness or just simple boredom, because they don’t know what to do with their life which often seems so meaningless. Social media can present an illusory distraction from real personal frustrations and grievances. This is the most sneaky problem here and I invite you to think about whether social media doesn’t make you procrastinate on things you should actually be doing in the real world.
Distortion of identities
Fourthly, this has to do mainly with kids which are growing up, and especially with little girls whose interests are mainly relational. Children are developing their identity, their character traits and their understanding of society and reality. And because social media is not the reality, you can already see the problem here.
Being bombarded with highlights from people’s lives all the time might make you feel boring, mundane, worthless or not special at all. This problem is huge, and if you have children (and especially little girls) please put some thoughts into how you want to introduce them to social media. Do not let them discover it just by themselves.
Distortion of World Views
Fifthly, social media can distort your world view. If you use your phone to browse through nice cat and dog videos, that’s nice and funny. You might be wasting your time if you do it too much, but otherwise there’s no danger to your way of thinking or world view. The problem arises when you use social media to look for news, social issues or some kind of ideological approval. Here we come face to face with the problem of fake news, which I’m not going to discuss here, because that deserves another video on its own.
It should suffice to say that it can happen that you only see the views of people you agree with and stay totally ignorant of other views and opinions. This creates a thought bubble and a very simplistic view in which you might think you’re the good person on the good side and anyone else who doesn’t agree with you is really bad and has only bad intentions in mind to destroy you and society. Baseless vilification of other views has always been a problem and social media is only strenghetning this unfortunate state of affairs.
Here we go - all the issues at one glance. However, I’m a big believer that every problem has a solution. So what does that mean to you in praxis? What steps can you take to improve the situation in your own little everyday life?
Solutions & Implementation for social media
First of all, you need to take the mindset of self improvement seriously. If you don’t think there’s anything to improve in yourself, you won’t have the motivation or reason to do anything. You’ll only change things, if you are ready to make a change. So be clear about your motivations.
2. Correct Morning Routine
Secondly, when you get up, don’t grab for your phone. Ease into the day. Take your time. The likes and comments won’t run away. You can check them once you get up. Consider your bed a sanctuary of relaxation with no worries - Hakuna Matata...
Why would you want to bring stress into it? Whenever you want to grab the phone although you really don’t need to, practise mindfulness instead. Become aware of your environment. There’s nothing you have to do, nothing to reply or comment. It’s just enough for you to be, here and now, in bed, waking up and enjoying the fresh stillness. Can you hear it? It’s so nice. No tik tok dance video can ever replace that.
3. treat social media as Reward for effort
Thirdly, practise any activities that sharpen your focus. That means prioritise your work first, and reward yourself with social media after that. Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, whatever… they might be the benefits you give yourself after you’ve done the task or achieved the milestone you wanted to do for the day. Or use social media as a relaxation activity during your breaks. In this way you give them a proper place in your daily routine, and don’t grab for your phone just randomly and constantly.
4. Face Your Inner Self
Fourthly, face your inner demons. Every one has them to some degree. Ask yourself: what is it that I’m trying to suppress that makes me addicted to social media. If you can’t find anything, then congratulations, it will be much easier for you to grow out of your addiction. But if you do have dark corners in your soul, please, admit you have a problem. Don’t feel ashamed of yourself to yourself, that’s just a fool’s way. Embrace your shadow and face the pain.
I know it sounds so easy to say that but once the pain of suppression is bigger than the issue itself, that’s the point when you will finally face your problem. And in this you don’t need my advice or anyone’s approval. Life itself will take care of this. The decision is yours: do you want to be a puppet of your life circumstances, or do you want to own and rule your life circumstances? I’ll leave that with you.
5. Take Care Of Your Children
Fifthly, this might not apply to most of you directly, but if you have children (and especially little girls) please make sure they understand that social media is not reality, that it doesn’t have anything to do with who they are and what they can achieve. Make sure, their self esteem doesn’t come from social media and nor from what others say. That’s your responsibility as a parent and if you’re not having those difficult conversations with your children, you’re not doing your duty.
6. Be Tolerant Of Other people's Opinions on social media
Finally, be aware at all times that reality is complicated and that there’s countless ways of how you can perceive the world. So don’t feel angry if someone disagrees with you. Be aware that people’s personal opinions are their right and so are yours. Bringing new points and views to your own world view only extends your knowledge, they don’t need to invalidate it. That's why listen first and try to understand before you decide to deny something.
Be mindful and let people have their own voice too. You don’t have to pick every fight. I hope this mindset will help you develop a critical attitude and a healthy distance from people’s opinions that they post online.
That’s it. We’ve gone through it all. Oh gee, I wanted to make it short and simple. Keeping things concise is hard. Do you agree with my analysis? Did I miss something? Do you think I got something wrong? Feel free to let me know in the comments.