Approximately seven in ten Americans use social media, most on a regular basis. People use social media for various reasons, including entertainment, to connect with others, to keep up with the news, and share information. Even businesses use social media as a way to connect with their customers, advertise to potential customers, and market. There are even businesses built on social media and provide products and services like Instagram tools, automatic post schedulers, and more.
All in all, society seems to rely heavily on social media, whether for personal use or business. While social media has a lot of great things to offer, it can have some harmful effects as well. Studies have shown that spending too much time on social media can lead to depression and anxiety. It can also open people up to being cyberbullied or committing cyberbullying. It can even result in poor sleep patterns that can, in turn, affect other areas of everyday life.
One of the biggest areas that spending too much time on social media can affect is the relationships that you have with your family, your friends, your significant other, and even with yourself. Spending too much time on social media can pull quality time away from those you love and can even stunt the growth of those relationships, can create friction and frustration when you see others living their dreams but you feel like your relationships are lacking, and have many other harmful effects. You don’t have to give up social media and all of the great things it has to offer, though. Instead, the following tips can help you find a balance between enjoying surfing online and keeping your real-life relationships healthy and strong.
Set Social Media Boundaries
It can be hard to step away from social media which means that it may sometimes be necessary to set boundaries. Whether you’re with your family, your significant other, or work colleagues, setting personal boundaries and requiring yourself to put the phone down is a good way to keep your real-life relationships strong without giving up social media altogether. You may even want to make a pact with your family members, significant other, or coworkers that when you’re out and about together, or you’re together in person, the phone usage goes to a minimum and agree that no one will browse social media during a conversation.
Spend Time Together Without Your Phone Around
Sometimes the temptation to browse when your phone is around is too difficult to avoid. In those cases, it may be best to leave your phone at home or forget it in the other room so that you can spend time with your friends and family face to face. Even if you’re going to be watching a movie, leaving your phone in the other room so you don’t half watch the show while you stalk your best friends’ feed can make a big difference.
Set Aside Specific Times to Browse Through Social Media
If you’re struggling to keep your social media time to a minimum and find yourself constantly on your phone, checking for updates five minutes after you checked the last time, you may want to set aside specific times for social media and commit to using the rest of your time to get stuff done, build your relationships, and be productive in other ways.
When You’re Present, Be Present
Social media has made it too easy to be physically present in a room without being mentally or emotionally present. This can cause some issues and struggles in relationships. Whether you’re sitting on the couch watching TV, having dinner, at a family reunion, or anywhere else, working to be mentally and emotionally present when you’re physically present somewhere can have some extremely positive and rewarding results.
Try Browsing Together
Social media doesn’t always have negative effects on relationships, and sometimes just spending time together is enough, even if you’re not talking and are browsing on your phones. If there’s nothing else to do, you want to look something up to share with them, or you’re killing some time while you wait a restaurant, browsing your phones together and using them as a way to entertain and interact with each other can be positive and much more fun than browsing alone or waiting in silence.
Social media is a lot of fun and can be a good way to kill time, keep up with friends, and gather information. Just like with anything else, though, if your usage goes unchecked, you could find that your real-life relationships start to suffer, even if your online persona improves and gets more likes. By recognizing your usage, working to be present when you’re with other people, setting social media boundaries, and even leaving your phone in the other room, you can maintain and improve your relationships in real-life without having to give up social media altogether.
How much time do you estimate you spend browsing social media sites?