Social media is a blessing and a curse. We can be entertained for hours and connect with people all over the world, but too much of a good thing becomes bad. It is easy to slip into scrolling endlessly for hours.
You shouldn’t beat yourself up about this. According to Business Insider, “several ex-employees of Apple, Google and Facebook have warned that large tech companies deliberately design apps to be addictive.” The longer we are on these apps, the more money they make from advertisers.
Cutting back on social media is not the easiest task. To lessen your usage of social media, here are nine simple steps you can implement in your life:
1. Use Screen Time
Despite it sounding like something parents would use for their kids, Screen Time is perfect for anyone who forgets how long they spend on their phone. It is available for Apple users and is located in Settings. Screen Time gives you a detailed report of what apps you use the most. Then, Down Time pauses all use of apps after a certain time. I personally stop all apps an hour before my bedtime and two hours after I wake up.
2. Delete apps
This trick is the one I hear most people do when they want to take a social media hiatus. Deleting an app is probably the easiest option.
3. Add extensions to Google Chrome
One of the most effective ways I’ve lessened my time on social media is by adding extensions to my browser. Google Chrome has tons of extensions solely for blocking websites. Some of my personal favorites are StayFocused, Forest and Remove YouTube Recommendations. Other extensions include Limit, Pause and Strict Workflow.
4. Turn off all notifications
Yes, your phone will be drier than a Popeye’s biscuit, but getting notifications and reminders from every app on your phone is not going to help your attention span. Notifications motivate you to get on an app. Then, when you get on that app, you will most likely spend too much time on it. Even the simplest reminders can be provoking. Keep your essential app notifications on and don’t fall into the temptation to tap on any.
5. Replace your phone for something else
Whenever you have a desire for your phone, look around for something else to do that is fulfilling. Whenever I need a break from studying, instead of grabbing my phone, I either reach for my guitar or clean my room for five minutes.
“You can do anything for five minutes,” according to Bailey Brown, a fitness YouTuber with a playlist of five-minute workouts.
6. Follow accounts that you’re not interested in
If you are addicted to scrolling, then throw the algorithm off and like and follow profiles, hashtags and photos that you do not care for. I do not care for charcuterie boards or gardening. However, if I saw them all over my feed, I’m more likely to close the app due to my disinterest in them.
7. Post & leave
One of the biggest traps I’ve experienced is going to Instagram to post a photo and ending up on my Explore page. Write the caption ahead of time, figure out what you’re going to tweet, look up only one recipe on Pinterest or watch only one video on YouTube. Implement self-control.
8. Learn how fake social media actually is
Ironically, I recommend looking at r/InstagramReality on Reddit or watching how much work goes into a single influencer work. It’s not all glitz and glamour. It’s mainly Photoshop, FaceTune, re-takes and hours of editing.
Instagram is a highlight reel. That millionaire who is selling a course to teach you how to become a millionaire? Dude, watch YouTube videos about Fake Gurus. Most content created is planned for hours and even days. Not many posts online are truly organic or authentic.
9. Figure out what you actually want out of social media
What is your purpose for using social media? Is it to be entertained? To keep up with your friends? Do you want to promote your business or artwork? To express yourself? To watch hilarious cat videos? Figure it out.
Do not make social media the place where your self worth comes from. Do not compare yourself to others on social media. Nor should you allow it to control your life. Control social media.