Facebook went down Friday morning a couple weeks ago due to technical difficulties affecting their API and web surfaces. According to the media, people were calling 911 to find out when Facebook will be back up. As we all know, social media has changed the way people interact. Social media has become the main way to communicate and stay connected with “friends”. According to research, social media can increase stress levels, produce anxiety, and negatively affect self esteem. This would explain the media allegations of why some people would feel a sense of emergency to call authorities regarding the Facebook outage. Have we become addicted to social media?

Here are 3 signs of social media addition:

  1. Excessive time on social media.  You are spending most of your time on social media and it is interfering with your work schedule or other responsibilities. You find yourself on social media for more than 2 hours in a row without any interruption.
  2. Status update anxiety. You feel the urge to constantly update your status. And if you can’t update your status, you feel guilty, anxious or upset.
  3. Obsession with friends and/or followers. You get preoccupied with how many people are your friends or following you. You get emotional o feel a sense of loss when you loose a follower or get “unfriended”.

If you can relate to these signs and feel like your real life is getting lost with your virtual life, it is recommended to take a break and disconnect for a specific time frame.

You may also try the following recommendations:

  1. Designate a social media time frame. Set a time to check in and update yourself with the virtual world.
  2. Try to be more mindful (present). Practice mindfulness exercises in which you take 5-10 minutes and enjoy your surroundings and be aware of your senses.
  3. Engage in a social hobby. Join a club or a group where you can do your favorite activities and get to meet people and socialize the good old way.

NOTE: you can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.

Author: Mayeling Angelastro, MA is a Bilingual Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern providing help to couples, families, couples, children and teenagers with offices in Orlando and East Orlando.  (407) 248-0030