I’ve never been one to obsess over social media. A couple of years ago, I created a Facebook account to connect and keep in touch with long-distance family members and old friends from school. Over time, I noticed that the more time I spent on there, the more I wanted to reach out to people I hadn’t spoken to in years and share news and recipes I found interesting. It was nothing too extreme, though. Then during last Thanksgiving, my oldest son’s girlfriend told me about how much more she preferred Twitter to Facebook, so I decided to give it a try. It’s become an obsession! I find myself checking my phone every 10 minutes or so reading other people’s tweets and posting my own. It’s gotten to the point that I always have my phone on my desk at work when I used to just leave it in my purse. My husband has brought up the fact that I’m always on Facebook or Twitter at home and even when we go out on date night. I really don’t want this issue to turn into a problem, but I know that if my husband feels bothered by it, then something needs to be done.
Sharing our thoughts, photos or connecting with old friends on social media can be fun. It provides an outlet for us to get away from the problems of work and home and lets us be ourselves, even to strangers. It can be liberating, but it can also become troublesome if taking part in Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram becomes an obsession.
We typically associate modern technology and services with the younger crowds, but a recent study has revealed the opposite. A Nielsen report released in late January 2017 highlighted the surprising fact that Generation Xers have surpassed millennials in social media use! What does this mean for those born in the 1960s and 70s? It can come down to social media time interfering in home and work life.
Have you found yourself obsessing over social media to the point that it’s become an issue with your family or work? Rice Psychology Group of Tampa can help you manage this problem.
Problems at Home
It’s safe to say that, by now, most Generation Xers have married and settled down with families, or at least settled down. Although there’s nothing wrong with participating in some social media, if it becomes second nature to the point that you’re carrying your mobile phone or tablet with you everywhere around the house because you’re too busy keeping up with what’s happening online, you may have an issue that needs attention.
Keeping up with what our favorite celebrities are up to, friend drama or which news events are trending can have anyone glued to a screen, but know when it’s time to limit what you’re doing. Too much social media use can take attention away from what matters most: your family.
If you find yourself drawn to your phone while your daughter is trying to tell you about her volleyball game or while your spouse is venting about his/her rough day at work, then it’s time to step back and reassess how much time your putting into your online social life. This can also apply to situations that your spouse may consider private or intimate, such as taking and posting photos online of a dinner that your husband or wife feels is a moment to be shared only between you two.Although too much social media can cause problems at home, your work life can also be affected. Click To Tweet
Problems at Work
Although too much social media can cause problems at home, your work life can be affected as well. In addition to simply taking time away from being productive at work, there is another potential issue with social media and your job. We like to believe that everything we put on Facebook or Twitter is harmless and all in good fun, but what if you were to voice your opinion on a sensitive topic or retweet a quote from a celebrity that you thought was funny, but may be seen as insensitive by others?Too much social media use can take attention away from what matters most: your family. Click To Tweet
Now, we’re not advocating for you to completely eliminate your social media activities, but by overusing it to the point that you’ll upload anything to generate interest with your family and friends, it can cause a problem in your professional life, especially if your employer is identifiable through your profile. There may be a time when someone who doesn’t like what you’ve posted brings it to your employer’s attention. And if the company you work for feels that this activity has shed negative light on the business, then there may be serious employment-related repercussions on the horizon.
For example, we’ve all heard stories of celebrities putting their foot in their mouths and saying something that many of his/her followers found unfunny or offensive. Bad publicity can damage reputations and the same can be said for regular individuals. If your social media obsession has gotten to the point that you’d rather vent your frustrations online rather than in person to a friend or family member, whatever you say can be used against you or otherwise cause problems for you.
Like we mentioned above, if your social media profile highlights where you work and you happen to make a disparaging comment about a customer or client or with regard to a viewpoint that your employer does not support, and your superior finds out, well you can guess what would happen next.
These types of situations can have anyone step back and think, “Would this have happened if my obsession with social media hadn’t blinded my better judgment?” Losing a job or straining a friendship due to what you post online can leave anyone feeling ashamed and remorseful.
What Can You Do?
With an obsession, it can feel like you have no impulse control to avoid or stop an activity. However, with a social media addiction, there are some things that you CAN do in small steps to control it. These can include:
- Limiting Yourself – If at home having dinner with the family, for example, put your phone away or turn off its notifications. Doing this will prevent any distractions and will allow you to fully engage with your spouse or children. The same can go when at work. Either shut off your phone or leave it somewhere out of sight. Not only will distractions be avoided, but being productive can even help you forget about social media throughout the day!
- Making Strict Rules – If it’s date night with your spouse or significant other, make a rule that no phones are allowed while having dinner. If you have children and feel that an open line should be established in case of an emergency, ask your partner to take care of it by having the babysitter contact him/her. Leave your phone in the car or your purse to help you avoid wanting to check your social media accounts.
- Only Using During Breaks – If you have a habit of using your phone all of the time, make it a rule to only do so for 15 to 20 minutes a day at the most. Even better, only use these times when you aren’t busy or with others. For example, if at work, use your phone only during your lunch break. If at home, spend time on your social media accounts when things have finally calmed down (kids are in their rooms doing homework, spouse is reading or watching TV, etc.).
- Never at Night or the Early Mornings – Avoid using your phone at night or in the mornings when in bed. Browsing through your Facebook timeline or giving your two cents about a recent news story can keep you up late into the night or even slow your morning down. Leave your phone in the living room or kitchen where it won’t be distracting you when you should be resting or getting ready for the day.
Each of these steps starts with being mindful of the reasons we turn to social media instead of experiencing and paying attention to what is actually in front of us and being present in our own lives.With an obsession, it can feel like you have no impulse control to avoid or stop an activity. Click To Tweet
We Want to Help You Find Balance
There’s no doubt that most of us find social media outlets fun. Spending a few hours a week keeping in touch with old friends or finding out what your adult children are up to can be great fun, but it’s very important to know when killing time on Facebook, Twitter or other social avenues is starting to interfere with your life. Rice Psychology Group understands the damaging things that obsessions can do. If you feel as if you’re obsessing too much over any type of social media, then contact our psychologists in Tampa today to learn how we can help you.