Social media allows you to connect with friends and family from a smartphone or computer, but it can have downsides. If you have been considering getting off social media, how can you do it?
Getting off social media involves deleting social media apps on your devices, setting boundaries with instant messaging, and finding alternative communication platforms. Leaving social media “cold turkey” can also help. Also, consider allocating yourself time to spend with loved ones and on hobbies.
This article will discuss the benefits of taking a social media break and provide some helpful strategies to leave it. Let’s dive right in!
The Benefits of Taking a Social Media Break
If you’ve been meaning to take a social media break recently, below are some compelling reasons to consider:
It May Improve Your Mental Health
If you have only one social media account, you’d be amazed at how much time you spend on the platform daily. It’s normal for people to browse their social media accounts when waiting in line or bored, and all those spare minutes can add up.
Unfortunately, spending excessive time on social media can negatively affect your mental health.
Social media platforms encourage a comparative and competitive atmosphere to the extent that no one has the perfect life they depict in their social media profiles. This reality can make people feel inadequate, self-confident, and depressed.
It can also keep you from making real-life connections with others, leading to anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
Taking a break from these negative aspects of social media gives you time to develop meaningful relationships and live a happy life.
You’ll Have More Time for Hobbies and Quality Time with Loved Ones
If you spend a lot of time on social media, you likely feel that you don’t have much spare time to dedicate to your hobbies, family, or friends. Cutting yourself off from social media allows you to find new activities or a hobby that you enjoy, develop your skills, and unwind from your busy life.
It can also help you improve your relationships with others by spending more time and becoming closer to them.
It May Improve Your Physical Health
Prolonged social media use can also do physical harm. Constantly staring at a screen can cause health problems with your eyes and your sleeping patterns. The blue light from your device’s screen can cause insomnia if you use it too much and too close to bedtime.
Being online can also be addictive, and this addiction can keep you indoors and sedentary, preventing you from moving your body and getting physical exercise.
Social media has also been linked with eating disorders. Not only does social media fuel comparison in teenagers and adults alike, causing body dysmorphia, but online communities can encourage anorexia and bulimia.
Taking a break from social media will allow your brain to enjoy the real world, allowing you to disregard the negative feelings social media gives you and process them normally. Taking even a day off from social media can boost your mood, energy levels, and health.
Relieve Anxiety Associated with Social Media
We discuss in our article “Security Threats Are Getting Problematic For Social Media Platforms” that hackers or bad people are always lurking in the background trying to get you. Issues like these cause background anxieties.
There are cyber security vulnerabilities in social media in general that are constantly being tested and attacked.
There is everything from Chinese, Russian, and domestic hackers using your information against you to fake bots running amok on social media.
People create fake social media accounts and use other people’s identities of famous or influential people, politicians, or even influencers to get to you. These accounts, Sock Puppet or Finsta accounts, can keep a person up at night with worry.
There are also, of course, fake followers created to give these people credibility.
How AI in Social Media Affects Us
There is an unknown variable in how much Artificial Intelligence (AI) is involved in social media and how it affects us. We know from studies that social media is changing our brains.
In social media, tech companies use artificial intelligence (AI) on their subscribers, as described in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma.” The movie talks about how artificial intelligence, programmed by humans, monitors social media platforms and curates content that it believes users are most likely to click on to keep them engaged.
Another 2022 documentary from Australia (free on Youtube) is a two-part film, Mirror Mirror: Love & Hate. “Mirror Mirror Episode 1” discusses in the first episode how social media te.ch companies are changing how we love.
In the second episode of Mirror Mirror, they focus on hate and investigate if we are being trained to be less sympathetic to one another. “Mirror Mirror Episode 2 of 2”
Alarming Social Media Trends and Its AI Facilitator
It doesn’t take long to search on Google to see the availability of 3rd party AI applications already affecting people on social media in so many different ways.
AI can create images, posts, articles, and texts and work on the marketing and advertising side of social media to monitor your behavior and continuously collect all sorts of information about you.
For instance, AI can understand the text contexts of user’s posts. Tech companies then use this information on unsuspecting people as they hope to access parts of consumer’s brains that utilize sensory perception like addiction centers.
We thoroughly investigate the topic of AI in social media in our article “Is Black Box AI Dangerous?” These are all good reasons to leave social media.
How To Leave Social Media
Now that you know the benefits of quitting social media, let’s discuss how to do it:
Delete Your Social Media Apps
As mentioned in the previous section, social media can be addictive, and if you have the apps on your phone, it can feel incredibly tempting to look at them when you have a spare moment.
To remove this temptation, delete the social media apps from your phone. If you don’t want to do this, consider adjusting your phone’s settings so that you only spend a limited time on social media when temptation strikes. Once you are used to this, reduce it a little bit more.
Setting social media limits varies depending on your device, but here is a quick YouTube video explaining how to do it on an iPhone:
Set Boundaries With Instant Messaging
Social media has made communication incredibly easy, and we often allow others to take up too much of our time and don’t set healthy boundaries.
Try setting boundaries with the people you talk to online. If you couldn’t pick up the phone and speak to them, why should they deserve your attention over an instant message? The less obligation you feel toward your peers, the easier it becomes to put your phone away for hours at a time.
Find Alternative Communication Platforms
If you are trying to get off social media, you are probably one of the millions of people who rely on it to communicate with family, friends, and even clients. Thankfully, getting off social media doesn’t mean you cut yourself off from the rest of the world, as long as you find an alternative method.
For example, if you need to reach someone, email or call them.
Allot Yourself Time With Loved Ones and for Hobbies
The best way to get out of the cybersphere is to head out into the real world and discover what makes us happy. Not constantly being on social media allows you to discover a new hobby and strengthen your relationship with your friends and family.
Once you experience the joy of a new hobby or quality time with loved ones, you might wonder why you didn’t leave social media sooner.
If social media was a way for you to kill time, and you need something to replace it with, consider the following:
- Download a meditation app to help you work on your breathing when standing in a line
- Take up knitting or crocheting so that you have something to do when hanging out at home
- Download a language-learning app to do something useful instead of browsing social media
Go “Cold Turkey” for a Few Days
This method is not recommended in most cases of addiction, but for social media, it could be a fantastic way of kick-starting your journey offline. Going cold turkey doesn’t have to be like an internet apocalypse, but you shouldn’t use social media during this time.
If you are lucky enough not to need your phone for anything essential, you can put it away in a drawer and forget about it for a few days.
If, like most people, you will need your phone for certain things, it’s a good idea to delete all the nonessential apps and only uses them for their essential functions. Put your phone away completely when you don’t need to be contacted, and keep its use to a minimum the rest of the time.
However, this method can have its drawbacks. If you aren’t careful about your return to social media, you may use it even more after the withdrawal. If you plan to return to social media after going cold turkey, have a plan for what limits you want to set yourself when you’re back.
Social media can be a massive physical and mental problem if we don’t act. Implementing the steps mentioned in this article can help you enjoy your life more, improve your relationships with others, and improve your mental and physical health.
Apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are designed to keep you online for as long as possible, so it is entirely up to you to break the cycle. Remember that your health and well-being are far more important than constantly updating.
- Social Media is Changing Our Brains
- A New Application of Social Impact in Social Media for Overcoming Fake News in Health
- Addiction to Social Media and Attachment Styles: A Systematic Literature Review | SpringerLink
- Relationships between Severity of Internet Gaming Disorder, Severity of Problematic Social Media Use, Sleep Quality and Psychological Distress
- Tech Evaluate: Why are Mobile Phones Called Smartphones?
- Makes Use Of: 7 Negative Effects of Social Media
- YouTube: How to Set Time Limits on Apps iPhone
- United States Census: Working From Home During the Pandemic