There is something among us. Something that makes everyone addicted. Has it already infected you, too? After its release, it was only used by adults, nowadays almost every kid wants it and have at least one. They also get younger and younger when their parents allow them their first one. They can’t wait. They get mad when the skeptical parents deny their children’s wish at first. It’s like a drug. Except that this one is legal. No matter where you go, there are people using it. You see them everywhere. Some of them are so struck, they almost crash the car they are driving because of using “it”. It might look harmless. People think it’s good, but it hides the evil.
Some might read the book “The Stand” by Stephan King in which a deadly virus is about to kill everyone. Well, we are living pretty much in its sequel right now. Something controls us more and more. Most people don’t consider it as a drug, and most of them don’t have a problem with it. But there are guys who freak out one day without it. It is anything but harmless. It can destroy people. It can make them turn into some sort of zombies. Forgetting the real world and be in some way: the walking dead. But what makes it so addictive?
20 years ago, the only phones people had were landline phones. It was a great invention in the 19th century. These days it’s no big deal talking to someone over a long distance. But who calls? Teenager use whatsapp or social media to stay in touch with their family, friends, and even their favorite celebrities. Those kids can’t imagine to leave the house without their beloved phones. It’s like a family member to them. The older ones like me remember phone booths, and that, not so many years ago, it wasn’t possible to call someone when a person wasn’t at home. If kids see such a phone booth these days, they’ll maybe consider it as a wrong colored Tardis, waiting for the Doctor to come out. But who gets addicted to social media and why? Well, we need to interact with other people. That’s in our DNA. The humankind is coded to live in groups. Socializing is very important. When everyone communicates with their phones, the person without one feels left out. It’s like your family starts to speak a foreign language and you don’t understand a thing. It’s also normal that people follow celebrities only because their friends do and not because they are actually a fan. They just wanna join the conversation with their friends when they talk about him or her.
People these days also communicate in chats on the Internet, in online games, or in social networks. Some who feel less comfortable around “real” people, love to keep the distance and prefer to chat with guys all over the world and only have to look at a screen. They get in touch with people they might never need to see. Such insecure guys, who often suffer from social anxieties, get their social interactions with people online. The phone only becomes a problem if the person lives into some sort of self created cage. When she drifts more and more into the networks, and spend less time without Internet. This is a serious condition. These people need help. Sometimes it’s the best to take one or two days off every week. Most people have five workdays, so what’s wrong with only having five online days? Enjoy the fun of both worlds. Connect with people online and offline. You need to communicate, you don’t wanna be left out, but you will miss so much of the real world if you only live online. Don’t let your phone take over. You possess it, not vice versa. So here is a list of how to avoid to become a social media addict:
- Use the phone only at specific times, like after work. Do never use it while driving, because that distracts you and you can cause an accident.
- Think of a time frame. Shortly after I joined Twitter, I spent hours in there every day. I didn’t want to waste my time like that. I love Twitter, but I make sure that I am no longer than 30 minutes using it at a time. Same is for Instagram and GooglePlus. And it works for me. I can check my messages, see pictures, make my posts, and have plenty of time for other things, too.
- Put your phone away when you are with your family and friends. It is simply rude to sit next to each other, but only looking at your screen. You can go online later.
- Have some days of the week off, in which you don’t use your phone, or only in emergencies. And looking what your fave celebrity might have posted, doesn’t count as emergency.
- Turn the notifications off. The more apps you use, the more want to remind you to use them again. Or they inform you about a new message you got. And like a call, many guys tend to answer immediately. But always answering everything makes you crazy and you feel unable to lay your phone aside.
- Mute it at night. One of your friends can’t sleep or lives in another time zone and texts you in the middle of the night? You can reply the next day. Sleep is important, or you’ll get sick. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can’t work 100% the next day. And do you want to get fired only because you aren’t fully awake?
- Mute your phone also at work, or turn your internet connection off. Only if you really don’t need your phone at work of course. If your boss send you messages, or you get your emails on your phone, you can’t switch it off. But most jobs don’t need a private smart phone. So, fully concentrate on your job while you are working.
- Use your phone one day a week without Internet. That is a fun thing for me to do. It’s not easy these days finding apps that don’t require Internet. But there are some, and you realize that your phone is more than an Internet connection.
- Don’t use more than three social networks. I use Twitter, Instagram and GooglePlus. All three of them twice a week. I don’t feel that I miss anything, and I am not mad when I get an information two days later than somebody else. It’s really not the end of the world. The more networks you use, the more you want to check what’s posted, and that takes time.
- Only use wifi at home, and no Internet when you walk through the park or buy your groceries. It also saves battery life. And why do you need Internet when buying vegetables? Do you need to post a picture of you and some corn and tell Instagram: hey look, I’m buying this super cool thing I just saw.
- Express yourself without emoticons. Can you still write messages without smiley faces? Interactions with people you look face-to-face come with the original way to show emotions. It’s more important how often you turn your own face into a smiley one, than use a smiling emoticon.
- Leave your phone at home from time to time. Sure, it’s great to be reachable and to be able to call when you have an emergency no matter where you are. But mostly you don’t really need your phone. When I go running, I don’t take my phone with me. I can fully focus on me. A true freedom. No, I am not available for anyone at that moment. If something happens, well, there are people who I hope will help me, like when I fell bad or something. I mean, I am not running at a lifeless place. And when I go out with my friends and only one of them has a phone, it’s pretty enough in case of an emergency.
- Think about what you share and with whom. Remember someone who follows you online can be a person who notices you on the street and talks about a picture you posted in a network. You should not be scared by that.
How often do you use your phone? Do you think you are addicted or do you have your usage under control? Please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.