If you have ever found yourself bouncing back and forth between social media platforms and scrolling aimlessly, we get it. Everyone’s gone down that black hole. In fact, social media was made to be addictive. Knowing this, it is essential to limit our usage. If your social media activity is preventing you from getting specific responsibilities accomplished, it is a great idea to check out our suggestions to monitor and limit your screen time.
This may surprise you, but social media is actually addictive, both mentally and physically, and is categorized as a behavioral addiction. When a user receives a notification such as a like or retweet, they receive a rush of dopamine. Dopamine is often referred to as the pleasure chemical which is sent along reward pathways. This rush you feel is similar to the one you receive when gambling or doing recreational drugs. There is an abundance of information on social media addictions that we highly recommend checking out to learn more. An excellent resource to use is the Addiction Center.
Within settings on your device, there should be an option to manage your screen time. This can allow you to schedule time away from your phone and choose specific apps to be accessible during that period. For example, let’s say you wanted to dedicate your morning and afternoon to work. Rather than having to throw your phone in the corner, which is unrealistic for those of us who have to remain in contact with others, just turn off specific apps, you don’t want to use. Being unable to use certain apps completely eliminates the possibility of a 5 minute Instagram break turning into 20.
In addition to this, there’s the possibility of setting time limits for specific apps, too. Set an amount of time you’d like to spend on social media per day and divide it between your platforms. When that time is up, settings will block you from using that app. Of course, if you need extra time, you can override it. Another great resource in settings is observing your weekly screen time report. This function provides you with invaluable information. Specifically, how many hours per week is spent on your phone and exactly where that time was used. It even provides a comparison to previous weeks, so you can track your improvement.
Depending on the platform, it is possible to monitor your usage there as well. For example, both Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have a reminder system. There you can set a notification to remind you you’ve spent a certain amount of time on an app. Let’s say you want to limit watching YouTube for no more than an hour at a time. You’re able to set the notification to pop up at one hour of activity. If you’d like to continue watching, it will allow you, but that’s a great way to avoid being sucked into that black hole.
This can be done through both the specific social media platform and your settings. If you want to remain productive, but not block particular apps, remove some notifications. For example, it is much easier to log onto Snapchat out of your own desire than being pulled out of the zone when you’re working due to a ding from a notification. You can be very specific with this as well, such as allowing notifications of DM’s but not for likes or new follows. Minimizing notifications can serve as a great way to eliminate distractions so you can stay on task.