My name is Sabrina and I’m an addict. Not a day goes by that I don’t need a ‘hit’. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. It’s not even intentional. It’s a habit, an urge, a subconscious obsession. I’m embarrassed to admit it but I’m a social media junkie!

I am hooked on news feeds and status updates, on notifications and instant messages. The compulsion to capture everything and share it with the world is irresistible. It feeds some deep part of my ego I never knew I had. But it’s not just sharing my life that I desire, it’s indulging in the personal details, words and pictures of those around me too (some whom I’ve never even met in the flesh)! Maybe that’s you? You don’t share. You just watch. You look, you scroll, you click, you like. You’re a silent addict. But it’s all the same. Everyday you NEED it, even if it’s just a little.

TAKE THE TEST TO SEE IF YOU’RE HOOKED TOO?

1. Whenever you have a spare two minutes you find yourself scrolling through a news feed, liking pictures or posting comments.

2. Once you post a photo or status you monitor how many likes or comments you get and it affects your mood.

3. You take 20 photos of the same thing to get the best angle then filter it; not once, not twice, but three times!

4. You check your phone regularly even when you are at school, work, university even mid-conversation with someone right in front of you.

5. You know a lot about people you’ve never met in ‘real life’.

6. You re-write your new status a dozen times until it sounds absolutely perfect.

7. If you see something funny or cool, you immediately think that’ll make a great pic/video and you reach for your phone.

8. The first thing you do in the morning is grab your phone to check all social media portals.

9. Your take your phone everywhere with you and constantly find yourself reaching for it. You feel totally lost if you don’t know where it is.

10.          Not a day goes by that you do not feel the ‘need’ to use social media.

So how did you go?

You’ll be happy to know you are NOT alone. I am not alone.

A study has found “young people are now so addicted to their mobile phones it feels like they have lost a limb when they are without them”. Crazy right? A similar article published on ABC.net.au states that ‘social media addiction’ has been recognised as an official condition in the United Kingdom, with London clinics treating hundreds of sufferers a year. It follows a study from the University of Chicago that found social media can be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. So what is an addiction?

A state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit forming.

Just look at some of these amazing statistics about craving for social media:

•   Facebook has 850 million active users and 488 million of those people use Facebook regularly on their mobile device.

•   In 2012, 175 million tweets were sent from Twitter every day. Thirty two per cent of all internet users use Twitter.

•   Instagram had an average of 7.3 million daily active users in 2012 and they averaged 257 minutes accessing the site on their mobile device.

Google’s famous +1 ‘like’ button is clicked five billion times a day.

Now I am not saying social media is bad and we should try and boycott Facebook or shut down Instagram. NO!

Social media is a fantastic tool when it comes to connecting people and sharing information. My mum lives on the other side of the world in Germany and thanks to Facebook she daily sees what I am doing, comments on pics of her grandkids and feels a part of my world. I am grateful for all the good things social media has brought to my life.

But ADDICTIONS are bad. I want to control technology, not have it control me.

I want to break this habit. So I’ve made a conscious decision to:

1. Deliberately and purposefully limit my time on social media.

2. Pay more attention to the people in front of my face instead of on my screen.

3. To treat my phone like an accessory, not a priority.

4. Stop ruining moments by trying to ‘capture’ the moment for all the world to see.

5. Not base my value on how many ‘likes’ I just got on my latest pic.

6. When I’m on a date the phone stays home; that way I give my husband my undivided attention.

7. When I wake up in the morning I start my day in the ‘real world’. I hug my kids, kiss my husband and get my head in the game for a good day.

8. When my children do something funny or cute I don’t rush off to record it. I sit. I savour. I laugh. I enjoy.

9. Be present in the moment.

So what about you? The first step is always admitting it.

 

This article first appeared on sabrinapeters.com.