The first thing people wonder about this subject is ‘is it real’?
The next thing they do is check it out on Facebook and look for a support group page.
For some people it is a genuine behavioural addiction and can be just as debilitating as substance use. There’s no doubt though, social media can induce anxiety far beyond what it’s originators intended. I can attest to this by the very fact that each time I go in LinkedIn I am asked if I want to connect with my ex wife. I’ve been doing my very best to avoid that for the last ten years and have a restraining order to prove it.
I’ve worked with a disturbing number of clients who’ve become obsessive about their social media use. It’s an unusual, though not unknown issue, and one that can be very upsetting if it goes unchecked. The need to be heard, and the need to find approval from an audience is a natural human desire, yet it can be moved to an unhealthy behaviour when it runs out of control.
The constant presence of cell phones is something that has opened the doors to many unusual behaviours. I do remember reading an old newspaper many years ago that warned of the evils of being on the phone too long. The author seemed convinced that the telephone could be the downfall of ‘easily influenced young women’. To be fair the newspaper was printed in 1928.
Somehow the ‘easily influenced women’ of the twenties seemed to survive. Some years later of course it was the television that could be their downfall. To the best of my knowledge these easily influenced young women proved rather more resilient that the writer imagined.
While one would think social media addiction is a teenage affliction, that’s not really the case. I’ve had clients who have struggled with this in their thirties and forties.
Signs that suggest you may have a problem:
- Cooking just to take pictures to put on Instagram.
- Stalking kittens.
- Putting every detail of your life on Facebook.
- Stalking past partners (which is more serious than stalking kittens).
- Knowing every detail of the lives of people you’ve never met.
- Becoming anxious when you cannot get to your phone.
- Comparing yourself to others unfavorably, as they have more interesting posts than you.
- Posting that you’re seeing your probation officer this afternoon.
On a serious note, there are impacts to Social Media Addiction. It is often accompanied by sleeplessness, low energy and anxiety. It’s more often considered a symptom of a wider issue for a client.
A better way to handle Social Media.
Some people acknowledge that generally social media can be a great thing, but that we don’t need all those messages from everyone on earth. Realistically just because I clicked on an advertisement accidentally for incontinence pants four years ago, I don’t wish to be bombarded with related advertising for the rest of my life.
Using Snapchat or Whatsapp with a limited number of chosen friends (less than 30), and just sharing relevant or interesting information, is a fairly good way to avoid the information overload of the more open systems, such as Twitter or Facebook. You still get to have the connection with those who are close to you, but you don’t get all the noise of ‘news’ being funneled to you.
Like most obsessive behaviours, Social Media Addiction does respond to hypnotherapy and can be treated quite simply. If you know anyone who needs a little help, get them to give me a shout.
You can call me on 778 919 0197, or reach me on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, Periscope, Ello, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Kiwi, Tumblr or Instagram.