How to Moderate Your Facebook Screentime
What started as a new and innovative platform on the internet to help Harvard students to connect with each other in the early 2000s soon became one of the most popular and heavily trafficked websites of all time. It began in 2003, when Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, invented "Facemash," an online software that allowed users to objectify fellow students by comparing images of their faces and picking who they thought was more attractive. Anyone globally may create a Facebook account by September 26, 2006, provided they were 13 years old and had a valid email address.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, around seven out of ten persons in the United States (69%) say they use Facebook at least once a day, seven out of ten of those who do say they visit the site every day, with nearly half (49%) saying they do so multiple times a day, and about a third of respondents in the United States (36%) say they acquire news from Facebook regularly. It's safe to say that at some point or another, Facebook has dominated our lives.
Why is Facebook So Addictive?
Apart from the fact that Facebook is a social media platform, and by that definition only, it should be very addictive, there are many depths to the reasons behind why so many Americans are still using Facebook today. Now Facebook isn't just some regular social media platform to share your Friday panini or your Monday yoga class pose. It's become so much more than that.
Like every other social media platform, Facebook caters to different aspects of human behaviour. The need for a creative outlet, emotional connection, and belonging to the community. It hits all the basic fundamental needs that psychosocial interaction plays in our lives. Social media has adverse effects on different brain functions from a neurological standpoint. Because it contains many distinct cues that might produce diverse emotions, social media's impacts manifest differently.
Social media websites are also at the back end of the operation of American consumerism. We live in a culture designed so that our social esteem or value is linked to our consumption ability. As a result, our inability to consume impacts our social value. When money is expressed in terms of consumer products, it simply becomes a measure of value, which is extremely important to people. Social media is a driving force behind modern-day consumerism. Companies now spend more money on marketing via social media than any other medium. As an avalanche effect, the cascading of brands and ads as we use the infinite scroll option Facebook provides increases with our content consumption. As a result, it may influence many decisions in our lives. Whether financial, personal, or professional, spending too much time on Facebook is harmful and negatively affects how we see ourselves.
Overcome Your Facebook Addiction
The purpose of this article is to provide you with five days of self-reflection and introspection into the hows and whys of your Facebook use. This journey includes a breakdown of a certain impact that Facebook has on your life and how to overcome it to wean off of it in the longer run. In the true spirit of introspection, we will also provide you with three questions for each day which you can answer in your journal to compile your feelings and emotions together. This will also include a video that you can watch on Facebook's impact on you and your life. Moderating your social media use is not a five-day task, but five days are exactly what you need to give you that push in the right direction. The goal is to not give in to your desires and not become a slave to your screen.
1. Don't Let It Feed On Your Insecurities
The psychological community has just recently begun to grapple with the reasons for sharing content on social media. Some studies have looked into how social media has influenced children's psychological development. Furthermore, the study's authors stated that posting on and engaging with social media is beginning to change the identities of children and teenagers.
According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, people post on social media because it can lead to good social media feedback and self-esteem. More specifically, the desire for likes or followers on social media significantly impacts why people post. Many users are encouraged to share more due to the attention for posting. The article "Social Networking Sites and Addiction" focused on some of the reasons why people become addicted to social media sites. Lower self-esteem and a real concern about being left out are two explanations.
Insecurity can become addictive like a drug. The more insecure we feel, the more time we spend on Facebook scrolling through posts till we find one that we think might make us feel better. You'll find twenty posts that make you feel worse in that process. So how can you get out of that cycle of self-deprecation?
To avoid drowning in unwarranted insecurity, it's vital to be aware of your life's flow. It would be best if you remember your life goals in addition to comprehending your life chronology. Social media posts are similar to adverts. Others' posts can easily persuade you that you should do what they did, eat what they ate, and go to the locations they went to. You'll feel defeated if you don't do what they did.
Keep your goals in mind if you don't want to lose in the war that only you know about. If you are clear about your goals, you will not feel insecure. You will be able to resist the impulse to emulate others' activities, regardless of how well they publicise their activities. Eventually, you'll stop posting on Facebook and start living instead.
For your task of introspection, journal answers to the following questions:
- What kind of content online triggers my insecurity?
- What goals do I want to achieve in the next five years?
- How much time do I spend posting on social media? Is there a better way to use that time?
2. Control The Content You Consume
Let's call this the most important C's of your Facebook use. "I think we underestimate Facebook's power constantly," Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, says. "It's really hard for human beings to picture in their head the actual size and influence of the platform. Something like one out of three people use the thing — it's like nothing we've encountered in human history. And I'm not sure Mark Zuckerberg is even willing to contemplate his influence. I'm not sure he'd ever sleep if he ever thought about how much power he has." From this statement alone, it is enough to gauge Facebook's impact on the content we consume and how we live our lives.
As we discussed before, consumerism includes everything from targeted ads, posts, branding, and social media marketing that are everywhere on Facebook's easy to use interface. All you need to do is keep scrolling, and you can see virtually pretty much everything the internet has to offer you. Facebook has approximately 80 million active company pages, and figures show that Facebook ads may reach over 2 billion people. As a result, it's no wonder that brands worldwide compete for the attention of their customers on Facebook pages. For example, Samsung has a vast follower base of 160 million individuals on Facebook, making it the most popular brand. Samsung's competitors do not even come close to being near the top of this list of the most popular brands on Facebook.
Facebook also can control other types of content we see, based on who we follow, what we like, and what we post. The algorithm behind Facebook shows you want to see it exactly when you want to see it. This can become dangerous for your time and finances. Not everything you see on the internet is how it is in reality, but those pretty ads may still want to make you buy it.
According to Facebook and other academics, the stuff we see in our newsfeeds has been shown to alter our mood, confidence, and mental health. There are no surprises here. Make a clean sweep of your Facebook newsfeed and delete everything that makes you feel bad. Think to yourself, "What do I want from this?" every time you unconsciously open Facebook or a social app. Distraction? Entertainment? Validation? No. Instead, do some thinking or gaze at a tree.
Facebook's trending sections may be a horror show. People do not monitor the algorithms, and the content sources are unreliable and strange pages. If you find anything on Facebook trending that interests you, use it as a prompt to go to your chosen media outlet. Cleaning up your algorithm and the stuff you're served allows you to have greater influence over the information you're exposed to regularly. You will spend less time absorbed in a handheld device if you are a mindful consumer of social media, actively determining when and why you use it.
After you're done cleaning up your newsfeed, go through these questions:
- What kind of content do I consume the most through Facebook
- How does the content influence my day?
- How can I substitute the content I find on Facebook with other sites?
3. If You're On Facebook, You're Most Likely Being Targeted
Facebook has been a powerful, non-neutral player in electoral politics since 2012. In that year, a research team led by James Fowler from the University of California, San Diego, and Facebook released a report in Nature claiming that Facebook's "I Voted" button had resulted in a small but measurable increase in voter turnout mainly among young people. The study found that a tiny design modification by Facebook might have electoral ramifications, particularly in the United States' electoral college system, where a few fiercely disputed states significantly impact the national outcome.
The appeal of Facebook is its capacity to provide you with exactly what you want. Like a page, and you'll see more of its posts; like a storey, and you'll see more tales like it; engage with a person, and you'll see more of their activities. The likelihood that you will like, comment on, or share a storey is how Facebook ranks stories in the News Feed. The higher a post appears in your News Feed, the more likely you will engage with it.
If you're on Facebook, then the chances of you being manipulated into doing something you don't want to do are pretty high. We talked about the algorithm before, but now coupled with Facebook's alleged involvement in dirty politics should, if nothing, at least concern you and make you take action.
Remove certain information from your profile and limit your clicking on links, commenting on topics, and even hitting "like" to a minimum. What you view on Facebook can still be tracked, but not how you react to it. That implies the corporation has less knowledge about you and can't manipulate you as easily. The second thing you can do is check your perceptions about real or fake. By becoming well-read and getting your news from trusted news sources, you can do that.
All of the spare time you acquire by spending less time on social media can be put to good use by socialising in person and spending time alone, both of which are likely to make you happier. "Digital socialising does not add to, but rather subtracts from, the psychological benefits of nondigital socialising," according to Georgetown psychologist Kostadin Kushlev. For further introspection, ask yourself this:
- How accurate is the news I read on Facebook? How can I fact check a few articles?
- Am I getting the right amount of information through this content?
- How can I increase my knowledge through other resources?
4. Fighting The Mob Mentality
A misspoken phrase or a poorly formulated notion can spread like wildfire on social media. It won't take much time before you feel like you're up against a firing squad. It's become such a hot topic that even PR agencies are writing blogs about recovering from a social media meltdown.
When we post our ideas on social media, we usually want to be validated. According to a simple Google search, people have begun to consider the likelihood that many in our society are now addicted to likes. Our need to be accepted, as a result, can affect our capacity to remain objective in the face of online bullying. It may influence our decision to join the crowd.
This group of critics may have the best intentions, yet they may be making decisions and forming opinions based on faulty reasoning. Once groupthink takes hold, any discussion can become dominated by a "we versus them" mentality. When members of the group are afraid of being rejected if they disagree, the mob mentality will win.
We must take quick action on a personal level for anything to improve. We can't make others change, but we can change ourselves. Given what we've already covered, here are some things you can do right now to combat mob mentality:
- Before you comment, tweet, or text, take your time to consider your comments. If you're feeling rushed, stressed, or detached, don't respond.
- Before you make an opinion, do your homework and keep an open mind to new information.
- Don't engage with bullies online.
- Make yourself at ease with standing out, even if it means going alone.
For taking these steps, it's important to ponder on the following questions:
- Would I ever bully someone online for their opinions?
- What can I do when I see someone being attacked online?
- Is my first reaction to be emphatic or be angry at someone's unpopular opinion?
5. Substitute Facebook for Other Activities
You're exhausted. We're sick of data breaches, bogus news, foreign involvement, and partisan trolls spewing venom. I'm sick of scandal. Tired of being duped by algorithms and pompous CEOs who provide haphazard solutions that fail to address the underlying issues adequately?
You're not alone in your dissatisfaction with social networking. Facebook is an addicting, toxic social force wreaking havoc on civility and democracy. We should probably all turn off our televisions right now, go outside, and hug our neighbors. Alternatively, since abandoning this social media site is unlikely for many of us, we may seek out some healthier alternatives.
There are many good alternatives to spending your time scrolling through Facebook. Get more time outside, connect with your friends and family, get your creative juices flowing, get some exercise or journal. Please don't give it too much thought. Record them in your journal rather than posting your views on social media. You don't have to edit yourself, and you don't have to attempt to meet the expectations of others. This is all for your benefit. You can sign up with JournalOwl to aid you in your journal journey. Journal down these prompts for your last day:
- What activities bring out my creative side?
- How can I use my time better to benefit someone else?
- At the end of five days, how is my attitude towards using Facebook?
JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.