Plan your career: How to tackle social media addiction effectively

With the advent of technology, social media disorder has become an epidemic with people switching between a dozen online media applications simultaneously.
Plan your career: How to tackle social media addiction effectively
Fr Raj Mariasusai SDB, Rector, Janodaya Salesian College, The Retreat, Yercaud

Chennai

I am a parent of two college-going and two school-going children. Your column on social media impressed me. As a father, I do feel our family values are challenged with Facebook overuse and abuse. I even feel that it leads to addiction and disorder of my children. How do we deal with it? (Saravanan Gokul) 
Facebook will soon have close to two billion active users. Ironically, that which is supposed to make us all sociable, turning to a tool of depression for all ages and for people from all walks of life. The children and young people are the worst affected by addictions that lead to withdrawal and isolation.
Not all Facebook users are addicted and suffer disorder.
Researchers have come up with a scale to measure Facebook addiction in order to resolve the issue individually. You can guide your children to take up the questionnaire to find out their addiction level.
We shall discuss in our later columns on the questionnaire types to guide in evaluating the scale and seriousness of addiction.
Today, social media addiction is a general term that includes Facebook addiction, as people switch between close to 11 social media applications. It ranges from thinking, planning and spending time with social media to reaching out to social media as soon one wakes up and ends the day with social media.
Rightly, the technology addictions have already shifted to most modern social media addictions. The Technology Addiction Clinics (TDC) are mushrooming.
India’s premier mental health hospital NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences) in Bangalore had already opened its first ‘technology de-addiction clinic’. It is confirmed that most of the patients are children and young people. Among many other researchers, the researchers from London School of Economics concluded that these disorders could also lead to drinking alcohol and substance abuse.
Social media disorder is nothing less than an epidemic. Most of the Asia – Pacific Regional nations are paying the price. There are thousands of Technology Addiction Diagnosis centres exist in the region including India. First of all, each parent is recognize the symptoms and start addressing the issue. Following tips could assist you in dealing with your children.
  • Keep away from comparing oneself negatively to others.
  • Avoid unhealthy neediness for social media networks like waking up to check FB and the last thing to before sleep to Tweet.
  • Encourage everyone in the family to discuss what they are sharing on the social media and what responses they get.
  • Advise stop responding to pokes, looking into updating of profiles and randomly following friends. Racing to have a large number of friends has become a huge issue. Stop this ‘friendship addiction’.
  • Define the human, family and personal values in social media. Families have to define the boundaries for social media, as families are very strict on using unparliamentary and filthy words.
  • Refrain from any type of negativity. We are 80% more easily prone to be influenced by negativity than positivity.
  • Set a time limit and prevent using it during family meals, prayers, weddings and so on. Pope Francis despised people using mobile phones during prayers.
  • Record every day the productive, constructive and socially useful moments of the usage.
  • Get rid of people who would waste your time, advocate narcissism, and share rubbish materials.
  • Switch off alerts and automated responses. They induce to act. We have discussed in another context about FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) syndrome.
  • Wish you and your family ‘Cyber Wellness’. Indeed, we are already at the threshold of wishing and praying for ‘Cyber Wellness’ or else we run the danger of having dysfunctional socializers and fragmented families.

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