Summer barbecues, picnics in the park, gorgeous sunsets, cool pints of cider, hotdogs or legs, all the best bits of summer captured for posterity and to be shared with your friends via your mobile phone.
Smartphones have revolutionised the way we communicate and share our lives. For the vast majority of people that is a wonderful opportunity to hold onto memories and stay in touch. For some people however the pressure of social media and the availability of all the different avenues of communication in their phone can cause problems.
Mobile phone addiction and social media narcissism have hit the news recently and seem to be a growing problem. The stresses of modern life can be intense and an escape from that is tempting.
The problem is that people can develop an anxiety – about missing out on events, what friends are doing, the grass being greener elsewhere, and so on. An addiction to checking updates can detract from enjoying the here and now. Needing validation from likes or shares can become the focus, rather than enjoying themselves. Hours at a time can be lost to social media, looking at other people’s fun rather than having it. And the fun everyone else is having can bring on dark moods, envy and depression if life doesn’t seem to match everyone else’s.
It can be a vicious circle in which phones are enabling and contributing to the problem. But sufferers feel unable to distance themselves and are locked into the cycle.
Not only that but mobile phones can disrupt your sleep patterns as well, possibly causing sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm disruption. Not only does this make you tired, irritable and clumsy but can have other serious health effects like depression, diabetes, obesity, stress and cardiovascular disease. This can make the effects of mobile phone addiction and any anxieties worse.
Does any of this sound familiar? And what can be done about it?
- Challenge yourself to not checking your phone for a certain amount of time. It doesn’t have to be long at first – five minutes, a meal, or the length of a film.
- There are apps and programs that can limit time spent on certain sites, or block them completely. Others can track how long you are actually spending viewing them, which could be an important dose of reality.
- Switch of push notifications for social media so you don’t get distracted by them – choose to open the app on your own terms rather than being sucked in.
- Sleep better with WaveWall Sleep, a screen protector that stops your phone emitting the blue light that causes sleep disruption.
Do you think mobile phone addiction and social media narcissism are growing problems? What should be done about them?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!