Socially Addicted. Who me? Couldn’t be, then who?
I know kids can get addicted to their devices, and that they can suffer mood swings, depression and other symptoms, but me? How could it be possible. I mean I’m an adult after all, I should know how to handle things. Right? Wrong.
I had no idea I was addicted to my cell phone and social media. I had a new small business and my phone was our company’s life line. After all, we wanted to be noticed, be wanted and be needed. We needed to answer every phone call day, night or holiday, right? I thought so. It didn’t start to sink in until Christmas Eve, my phone rang, and I answered it. I had an hour conversation about our company, what we do, why we do it and what makes us different. Once I hung up the phone my kids looked at me and said “Mom, really, it’s almost Christmas, can’t they wait? How rude!”. I responded with “sorry it’s mommy’s job, it’s our business”. Well, that’s what I thought.
Year 5 into our business, I not only answer all the calls, but I did all the social media (Facebook, Instagram, a bad attempt at Twitter and our website). It wasn’t until we decided to leave our small business that it hit me, and HARD!! I handed over the phone – – My life – –
The phone had become my life, or so I thought. It had become my everything. Every like excited me. Every comment made me smile as I instantly responded to each one. Every email made me feel important. Every call made me feel proud, explaining not only what we did but trying my best to make them feel special, that they had my undivided attention. But when it was gone. I was LOST. It felt like I lost my best friend or a family member. It sounds crazy admitting it, but I was depressed, lonely and hurt. My personal Facebook didn’t get nearly the attention my business page received.
It took weeks. Weeks to retrain myself. To remind me that my self worth has nothing to do with my likes, comments or shares. It didn’t have anything to do with how many friends I had or how good a mom, wife or friend I was. I needed to be stronger for me, and my family. I needed to find out who I was again. Crazy at 40 I needed to start over and figure out who I was without social medias help. Which had me thinking, if this happened to me, how many others feel this way, or was I alone?
Here is some research I found.
Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D states “in a recent paper Dr. Kuss and I again reviewed the latest research on the topic and showed that social media use for a minority of individuals is associated with a number of psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, loneliness, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and addiction. Because social media is most frequently accessed via smartphones, their usage is intimately intertwined and their mobile nature contributes to excessive checking habits, which often derives from what is commonly labelled as the “fear of missing out” (FOMO).” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201805/addicted-social-media
Although written in 2015 a blog post by Sakina Groth states “according to research at Harvard, social media addition is really a thing – activating the same neural pathways as food, sex and gambling additions! … For some, this becomes an obsession that is less self-expression and more about attention and chemical highs. In fact – recent studies indicate that social media addiction can cause the same kind of brain changes as those seen in cocaine addicts!” http://elseapp.co/blog/2015/socialmediaaddictionisreal
In the BBC News by Hilary Andersson July 2018 states “A former Facebook employee made a related point. “Social media is very similar to a slot machine,” said Sandy Parakilas, who tried to stop using the service after he left the company in 2012. “It literally felt like I was quitting cigarettes.” Leah Pearlman, co-inventor of Facebook’s Like button, said she had become hooked on Facebook because she had begun basing her sense of self-worth on the number of “likes” she had. Ms. Pearlman said she had tried to stop using Facebook after leaving the company. “I noticed that I would post something that I used to post and the “like” count would be way lower than it used to be. “Suddenly, I thought I’m actually also kind of addicted to the feedback”. But Ms. Pearlman said she had not intended the Like button to be addictive. She also believes that social media use has many benefits for lots of people.” https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/technology-44640959
Well, I’m relieved to know that I am not alone. It took some time, but do you know what I learned from all this. There is definitely a place for social media in our lives (staying connected with family and friends) and businesses (spreading the word about your new company or product), but there must be boundaries and time limits that need to be established and held to. We should all try to keep each other accountable. How do you handle it? What have you experienced?
Facebook: Socially Addicted! Come check out my blog. https://bit.ly/2TQQofV
Twitter: Socially Addicted! #socialmedia #addicted https://bit.ly/2TQQofV