Less pointless scrolling gives you more time in real life. Photo: Getty
Maybe you just messaged someone on Facebook, searched for a recipe on Instagram, or watched that viral clip on TikTok. Whatever your favorite social media channels, chances are you use them now more than ever.
In Australia, the latest data shows a 4.3 percent increase in social media users. As of January this year, there were 18 million social media users in Australia – that’s an increase of 735,000 people, according to the latest statistics from search engine optimization (SEO) company Prosperity Media.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform with 16 million Australian users, followed by YouTube with 15 million and Instagram with 9 million.
The benefit of social media is its ability to keep people connected, informed, and entertained.
However, researchers are studying whether there are links between social media and addiction, depression and anxiety.
A Headspace study found that the number of young people citing social media as a cause of declining mental health is increasing.
The 2020 Headspace National Youth Mental Health Survey found that more than half of young people (57 percent) believe their mental health is declining, with 42 percent citing social media as a top reason for the decline.
“Young people value the social connection, access to information, opportunity to explore interests and entertainment that social media platforms can provide,” said Headspace National Clinical Advisor Rupert Saunders.
“But spending too much time on social media can leave people feeling down, overwhelmed and unable to switch off,” Saunders said.
“Spending too long on social media is also associated with higher levels of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and mental distress.”
Is Social Media Taking Too Much Time? Maybe it’s time for a detox.
Creating healthy habits around social media use can take a serious detox. So if you feel like you’re wasting too much time scrolling a screen, here are some tips to save:
Measure the time lost on social media
Measure how much time you’ve spent on social media to understand where you are. Most platforms have “time spent” details in the settings section of their apps.
This gives you a picture of which platforms you spend the most time on and allows you to create goals to spend less time on them. It could be a modest goal of a one-hour reduction per week for one month, followed by a two-hour reduction the next month.
A phased approach is more viable than closing your accounts altogether.
Disconnect from negativity
If you follow accounts that evoke negative feelings, including fear of missing out or making you feel unsafe, stop following those accounts. If you are not comfortable viewing the content on these accounts, it is time for them to leave.
Scrolling before bed is a notorious time waster. Also, the stimulating lighting effects of digital screens can keep us awake at night.
Don’t bring your device into your bedroom, find another way to set an alarm and you’ll notice an improvement in your sleep.
Set some goals in real life
To become less active online, become more active in real life. For old or new hobbies, leave the screen behind and meet people face to face.
Your social media detox may take a week or a month, but the new habits you develop will stick if they make you feel better.