A silver bullet for the right amount of social media use

Maybe a month after updating my iPhone I noticed that there was a new popup on my screen in the evening. It told me that I had been using my phone for an average of nearly three hours per day that week. Three hours! That sounded very alarming, it’s nearly half of a working day! I knew I had to react in some way.

My first step was checking which applications have I been using the most. WatsApp, Telegram and Facebook were the three most used applications.

I had a solutions in my mind already, a silver bullet. This would definitely decrease my screen time. I chose to use watsapp telegram and facebook more with by computer, so my iPhone wouldn’t find out!

Was this a good solution? No. Did I really try it out? Yes. Will I have to figure out something better? Definitely.

Defining how much screen time is ok turned out to be very hard for me. On the one hand, I do use my phone for quite useful or even “compulsory” things, like communication about schoolwork or reading work emails. On the other hand I do know that I often open a social media just to notice that there is nothing new, because it is so little time ago that I checked it for the last time. I think that many of us can relate to this. It seems that there is no silver bullet to determine the “right” amount of time on social media.

The devious thing with social media is that it is a lot easier to justify for oneself as well as people around you why you are using it so (or too) much. At workplaces or schools people would get in between overuse of alcohol and drugs for example. People would get worried if I always had a beer with me in lectures! But this is not the case with using my iPhone! No one says anything, probably even no one notices, if I check my phone every 15 minutes at work and in the university.

Does it mean that I have an addiction? Not necessarily.

Social media addiction is more common than you might think in the first place. Even though there’s no official addiction classification for social media (at least not yet), it doesn’t mean that using it excessively in many aspects, is common. It has been estimated that one in ten social media users can have a social media disorder of some level.

What I want you to do next is think about your own social media use. Would it maybe be better for your life quality to decrease it a little? Here some helping questions for you:

  1. Do you feel an urge to use social media?
  2. Do you feel stressed or restless if you don’t get to use social media?
  3. Do you use social media to focus your attention away from some problem?

And last but not the least quite simply:

4. Would you actually have better things to do?

In case you come up with the same conclusion as I did, please come up with better solutions than I mine!