Should you take a break from social media?

Jun 25, 2019

We use it to network with business contacts, keep in touch with friends and family, find and share information, express our opinions and even for entertainment (comedy cat video fans, you know who you are).  But there’s evidence to suggest many people who use social media fear they’re addicted to it.

Should you quit?

Quitting social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may have a number of benefits, including the following:

Your mood may improve

Research suggests that the more time you spend on social media, the greater your risk for depression. 

You’ll feel less isolated

While you may have hundreds (or possibly thousands) of Facebook friends, if the only time you spend with them (or at least the ones you actually know) is when you’re online, chances are you’ll end up feeling disconnected rather than connected. 

You’ll have more self-esteem   

Constantly comparing yourself to other people on social media who appear to have the perfect job/relationship/house/body/family is hardly going to be good for your confidence. Indeed, studies have shown people who spend a lot of time on social media experience low self-esteem as well as increased anxiety.

You’ll feel more positive   

With so many people using social media as an outlet for their anger and frustrations, there’s a risk all that bad feeling could rub off on you. Getting things off their chests online may help many people feel better, but in reading their comments you could risk absorbing some of their negativity.

You’ll have more free time

Everyone knows how time flies when you’re engrossed in social media. Even when you promise yourself you’ll spend just 5 minutes checking out your Twitter feed, chances are you’ll still be scrolling an hour later. 

You’ll be more productive

All that extra free time you could have by quitting social media can be put to good use. Instead of being glued to your smartphone for hours on end, imagine what you could do?

Realistic approaches

Quitting sounds tempting, doesn’t it? But giving up social media altogether may not be the answer. 

Set some boundaries

Instead of swearing off social media for good, there are other, arguably more realistic options. You could for instance make it a rule to stay off social media when you go out to dinner, when you’re spending time with other people or before going to bed and when you’re in bed. You could also give yourself a time and a time limit for checking your social media, for instance 20 minutes at lunchtime and resolve to stick to it.

Give yourself a timeout

But it may be simpler to make a habit of staying off social media for 1 day a week. You could also take things a step further and take a 1-day-a-week break from all your digital devices. Unplugging has become a real trend these days, with many people taking breaks, not just from social media but also from the internet and their smartphones on a regular basis.

At the very least, an entire day away from your computer or smartphone screen each week could help you remember how good life was before you became a slave to those annoying beeps and alerts.

Find out more about taking a break from technology by reading our article Smartphone addiction – do you need a digital detox?

Article reproduced with the kind permission of CABA, the organisation providing lifelong support to ICAEW members, ACA students and their close family around the world.