Are you a social media addict?

Two girls staring at social media on their smartphones
Photo: © Fabio Formaggio / 123RF Stock Photo

We are living in a digitalized age and there is an obsession for updating oneself on social media. New technology and mushrooming apps pose a great temptation, resulting in over indulgence and excessive use of social media among youngsters.

There is a constant need to update social profiles; endless anxiety if there are less views, likes, etc., on posts. It has become very important to let everyone know where you are, what you do and who you are with, and the need for acknowledgement has increased tremendously. Technology and social media are not bad but anything that is used in excess is harmful. It becomes an addiction; you are stuck to it and unable to get out of it. Coping with every new social media site that comes up becomes the need, clicking endless photographs and posting them is an everyday task, constantly checking who liked your post and who did not gives rise to many unwanted emotions, and if you don’t receive the desired result you start questioning yourself:

“Have I done anything wrong?”
“Why do people not like my posts?”
“Did I post at the wrong time?”
“Don’t they like me anymore?”
“I don’t have enough followers.”

And you just go on thinking and questioning yourself, which results in you getting disturbed the entire day. Your day is bad if you get less likes and the day is fine if you get a good number of likes. Your entire day and mood is defined by the social media acceptance and response from your friends/followers.

Social media is not bad, it is just that we need to know how much to use it and be aware of what we want from it. Research says that people who spend more than the required time on Facebook are depressed. It has also been seen that Facebook addiction shows up in the scans of those who can’t stay off the site, affecting grey matter in a similar way that cocaine does.

Instagram is also a good site for sharing pictures but some of my clients have said it impacts their body image. They sleep less and fear what they are missing on it, which is very disturbing to them.

Another client said: “I feel rejected, lonely and unwanted as I don’t get as many likes as my other friends get on social media.”

Common signs of social media addicts

If you have any of the following symptoms, seek appropriate help.

1. The first thing you do when you wake up is check your social media profiles. Your phone is usually with you, on your bed and mostly under the pillow.

2. You are on your phone till you fall asleep.

3. You cannot complete a dinner or lunch without checking in on a social media platform.

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Rachana Awatramani
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Rachana Awatramani

Rachana Awatramani is a Counselling Psychologist, Author and Director of Insight Counseling Services LLP. She has been practising since 2010 and has been felicitated for her contribution in the field of mental health. She also responds to an ‘Ask an Expert’ column in the Times of India every week.