UPSC General Skills (Part 4):Managing Social Media Addiction

The first thing you need to ask yourself is if you want to quit social media or not. An influential factor is how important are your goals in relation to your time and attention? If you know that you value your goals and that your time is scarce and precious, you will be able bring the will power because you have an internal push that transcends your temptation. This is enormously helpful in making you resist the urge to check your social media. But in the meantime, we have a few external steps that we can take to active keep ourselves from distracting apps and sites.

Deactivate Notifications:

Notifications have over the course of time conditioned us to react by reaching out for our phones. This sort of conditioning may have occurred while we were unaware of the dangers of social media consumption. We might even be unaware that we do this. Now we live in an era of enlightenment and have substantiated studies showing us the detrimental effects of social media consumption.

This author is aware that along with these dangers, we have had opportunities open up through the continuum of people-desires-e-commerce. This author acknowledges that these opportunities were undreamt of in the years gone by. Social media has always been a double edged sword. It offers new opportunities for growth and success that was previously unknown. It also offers new perils through its carefully curated series of images and news and addictive accessibility as it pirouettes through your minds and clips your ability to concentrate. This offers a glamorized version of reality that warps your sense of normal and builds a sense of malcontent in oneself and one’s life that can erode one’s happiness.

This can be easily remedied by a simple step: deactivate your notifications. Go to settings, look for the Notification tab in that list and enter the tab. Then disable the notification for all the apps that you don’t want notifications from. This will help you cultivate a deliberate sense of access. You will access social media because you want to. There a conscious and clearheaded decision at work here rather than an automatic, conditioned response to boredom.

Computer:

A way we can control our social media consumption is by making sure that we use social media platforms only though the computer. Almost all of the platforms are supported on both Windows and Mac. This ties into our recommendation for a conscious and mindful choice to use social media. By being mindful, you’re breaking your automatic response behaviour pattern towards accessing media. You can then evaluate the worth of these platforms and can have clearheaded understanding of the kind of value addition it brings into your life.

For this, you need to be aware of how often you use social media and the purposes you use it for. That clarity can only come from using social media on your desktop systems. The logic behind this advice being if all your media apps are on your phone, you have an all time access to these platform because you carry your phone with you everywhere. You can fall into patterns of use that you are unaware of. By using a computer, you’re able to have a more accurate understanding of the kind of use and the type of use you have for them.

App Blocking Websites:

Another way to break your social media addiction is to use websites and apps that block your access. There are many websites and chrome extensions that you can use to block or restrict your time spent on web such as:

FocusMe [1]

FocusMe  is essentially a productivity powerhouse. It has been featured by many of the internet’s biggest sites associated with productivity and technology such as The New York Times, InsideHigherEdEntrepreneur, and more.

FocusMe isn’t just a website blocker. It’s a time tracker, comes with a timer for the Pomodoro Technique (discussed above), allows you to set schedules for blocking and other items weeks in advance, provides actual support. FocusMe is like all of the features from the tools above, packaged into one bundle. This alone makes it, by far, the best website blocker for studying and workplace productivity.

StayFocusd

This is an extension for Google Chrome users, making it super easy to install. It doesn’t take up much extra space on your computer. It actually works in a different way than most internet blockers do: Instead of putting certain sites you can’t access on a list, you actually put how long you can access certain sites. For example, if you don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes on Facebook that day, you type that into the StayFocusd extension. After 30 minutes spent on Facebook, it will cut you off, forcing you to fend for yourself and overcome the dreaded withdrawal symptoms.

Self-Control

This is an app designed to be your own personal distraction blocker. The way it works is pretty uncomplicated: It permits you to add certain websites to your “blacklist” that you want to block and allows you to set a timer. This will ensure that for the amount of time you set the timer for, the sites you have blacklisted will be blocked. However, before hitting that “OK” button, you better be sure you have your timer set to a time you’re really committed to because even restarting your computer or deleting the app won’t save you from this one!

You can use these website blockers to stave off the worst of your procrastinating tendencies. This author advices you to do the same for yourself in the mornings so you can have  afresh mind and an uninterrupted stretch of time to deep dive into the topic for a more comprehensive grasp of the same.

Social Media Session

You can establish a middle ground between quitting and not by having a specific time set aside for Social Media Sessions. You can have unlimited usage with the caveat that you can ONLY use all your social media accounts during this particular time. You cannot trade off this time. For example, if you have set up social media sessions between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. You cannot meet a friend at 5 p.m. and then have a social media session shifted to 7 p.m. You must accept that the time for social media has passed and you were unable to use it. Establish the baselines early and be strict on yourself. By setting up healthy boundaries for yourself, you can feel less pressured and guilty about using social media. A word to the wise, try to schedule your sessions in the evening so that you can have a whole day of intense study behind you. You can also be gleeful about the possibility of unwinding without worry.

The Middle Ground

Social Media actually has a lot of useful features, like Facebook’s messenger, newsfeed. The problem with this, as highlighted by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, illustrates that this news isn’t fact based, but it is based on what will keep you engaged with the platform for the longest time, such as headlines that reinforce your world view, though it may be factually inaccurate.

Despite this, if you need to keep in touch with loved ones who live far away, you can use apps like ToDoIst to lock away certain features that can keep your social media engagement at manageable levels. This can be used for other social media platforms as well.

These are some ways through which you can engage with social media content and still keep to your study schedule. All the apps in the world may not be able to save you if you are truly addicted to social media.

For those who are unable to control their social media binges, this author recommends  a 30 day bootcamp social media detox.

A way you can accomplish this is by deleing the apps off your phones and blocking them on your computer using freedom.to. Your willpower is dependent on the environment’s influence. You may have social obligations to your friends and you may worry that they might misunderstand if you suddenly stopped responding to their messages.

So take some time, craft a heartfelt goodbye message. This way, you can leave with a grand exit and this will take away your desire to go back because you made a statement that holds you publically accountable. Another way you can ensure that you don’t binge on social media is to give a trusted person all your passwords so they can change it to something that you can never guess. This way even if you are tempted, you cannot go back to your accounts.

This Author wishes you a grandly productive day.

 

 

 

Best Wishes
Officers IAS Academy – Best IAS Academy  in Chennai.

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