How to Know if You Should Unplug From Social Media

people on smartphones.jpg

Here at Just Us Gals, we LOVE social media.  It’s a great way to connect to people and ideas all over the world. However, from Jon Hamm to Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande to Ed Sheeran, celebrities are taking social media breaks from platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If a particular platform feels toxic, should you still be on it for the sake of exposure? Is it okay to take a break from Instagram or Twitter as a small business owner?  People are starting to question the importance of always being on social media in business and personal life as it takes more and more time away from other pursuits, and can feel like an emotional drain.

Where the Social Media Addiction Began

If you can believe it, we’ve been living with social media in our daily lives for over two decades now.  According to Social Media Today, social media sites as we know it started in 1997 with Six Degrees.  Since the early 2000’s platforms have been rapidly growing and claiming more of our precious time, and now we’re feeling the effects.  

In 2018 the average adult spent 11 hours interacting with digital media every day, be it watching Netflix, reading online news, or listening to podcasts.  Compound this over a week and that’s 77 out of 168 hours in a week, or a whopping 45% of our weekly hours!  This also factors out to monopolize 45% of our months as well. This is a staggering amount of time sunk into screens that people are beginning to reclaim.  If you’re as shocked by these numbers as we were, read on to learn the benefits of a digital detox.

How to Waste Less Time Online

The first thing to consider is whether you want to leave a social media platform completely, or just reduce your time spent on it.  If you want to spend less time on your apps, there are a few effective techniques you can try.

  • Use apps like Forest, Offtime, and Space to help you limit and track time spent on your phone.

  • Turn your phone on airplane mode during set hours so you’re not distracted by noise and lights from notifications, texts, and emails.

woman on phone.jpg

Benefits Of Spending Less Time On Technology

  • Get your free time back! - In a study done by researchers from Stanford University and New York University, quitting Facebook for a month gained the average person an hour or more of free time that wasn’t spent on a screen.

  • Reconnect with friends and family - In this same study, subjects reported that they spent more time with friends and family instead of jumping to another digital distraction.

  • Possibly sleep better - Limiting screen time at night can lead to improved sleep.  Numerous studies show the negative effects of blue light from screens on our sleep cycle.  A Harvard study shows that blue light suppresses melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep, longer than other colors of light.

If any of these benefits sound like improvements you want to see in your life, you may want to consider limiting your social media time.  Whatever your choice, you are in control of how much time you spend on social media and how you use it. It’s okay to disengage, but it’s also okay to stay on social media if you want to!  The choice is yours.

Becky Holder is a content contributor for JUGs and works in education. In her free time she looks for the next best cup of coffee and great food. Follow along @rebeccalizholder on Instagram.