Have you ever caught yourself checking your phone and not realising why? Perhaps you left it at home and feel completely “off” all day? Technology has dramatically shaped our culture in just a few short years. Our phones now provide us with ultimate convenience and provide us the ability to stay connected with friends and family regardless of distance. Who would have ever thought that grandma would ever get a Facebook! We have embraced the culture of social media, and it has brought us closer together in many ways. We have the ability to share photos, video chat, share articles and converse all at our fingertips. We are also now learning that social media may not be as glamorous and perfect as we once thought. Studies have begun to show an increase in anxiety and loneliness in young people who use social media often, and with 90% of all teenagers reporting daily use of social media, this may soon be a huge concern for mental health. Perhaps we need to take a step back, look at what role our phones play in our daily lives. If you are concerned your phone may be more harmful then helpful, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I get anxious over face to face interactions, or prefer texting and messaging over a phone call?
One possible impact of constant messaging and limiting social interaction is an increase in social anxiety. Think about this, messaging allows for editing and crafting words before pressing the “send” button. Face to face interactions or phone conversations may begin to feel overwhelming for an individual who is use to crafting, deleting and editing any communication. The downside is we tend to miss out on the benefits of face to face interactions and affection we receive in these interactions. We become out of practice at simply speaking with another human being.
Do I struggle to walk away from my phone?
If you are at home and find yourself carrying your phone with you from room to room, this may be a sign that you are missing out on quality family time. Social media has conditioned us to never be bored. If we are slightly bored, you usually pull out your phone, right? If we remove the phone from the scenario, we may just be forced to spend more time together or give all of our attention to something. This urge to pull your phone out can be addictive. Perhaps you want to see if someone “liked” your post from 5 minutes ago, or if someone responded to a message. Every time you pull out your phone, you are feeding that addiction.
What does social media do to my self esteem?
If your entire identity is wrapped up in a social profile, it can be easy to be highly influenced by the number of likes, shares, or followers you may have. This can be particularly dangerous for teenagers who are developing their sense of identity. Struggles can arise with online trolls and bullies becoming more prominent on line and emboldened by the anonymity of the internet.
While these questions are not intended for any sort of diagnosis, they may just get you thinking about what role your phone plays in your daily life. How much power does a device in your pocket hold over you? How much control does technology have in determining your quality of life? A great way to regain balance in your life is to be intentional with your phone use. Leave your phone in your pocket unless you have a reason to check it. Perhaps turn it off when you are with friends or family. Set a curfew for yourself. If you are concerned that your social media habit is dramatically impacting your well being, book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online.