Social media login addiction: is it fact or fiction?

Hi. My name is Lucy, and I’m addicted to my iPhone.

Within four days, I went on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) a total of 100 times. That may not seem like a lot, or maybe it does, but I am one of those people that can’t picture life without an iPhone.

It’s an epidemic.

This week was hectic in itself. I’m blaming the quickly approaching end of the semester. I wonder had it been more laid back if my 100 would have reached an astronomical height. Also, had I logged the amount of times I checked my emails and texted people, my number would have skyrocketed. A guesstimate? I most likely would have been seeing numbers within the 250-300 range. My dad always jokes, saying I should just get my phone surgically implanted in my hand.

I see social media as a way to escape everyday life for a little bit. Checking on what’s gone on throughout the day in the Internet world is both a morning and night routine. Instagram especially was my most visited app throughout the week, accounting for 42 of my logons. On Wednesday alone, my logons made up over half of my total, with 24. I was supposed to be reading a novel for class, but for some reason I thought looking at pretty pictures of fashion bloggers and people’s dinners would be interesting. Needless to say, I didn’t finish reading Wednesday, but I got farther than I thought I would!

Is Facebook the fan favorite again?

Because I have had several jobs where social media is a part of my workday activity, I noticed I have transitioned more from enjoying Twitter, back to Facebook. I remember Facebook being the coolest thing in the world after the fall of MySpace in high school. Then Twitter swooped in and stole its thunder. If I had taken a log of my online activity a year ago, I can guarantee that I would have been on Twitter most of the day. I also went to a school where I was miserable half the time, so Twitter was my friend to vent to about the everyday happenings of community college. More people seem to be involved on Facebook now. I find myself clicking on Cosmo or Buzfeed’s “Top 10” lists that clog my newsfeed more often than I should. My activity on Facebook and Twitter was almost at a tie with 27 to 31.

A study published on said, “It’s still Facebook’s world.” In monthly active users alone, Facebook has 7 billion more compared to twitter: 874 million versus 176.3 million.

“I feel like not as many people go on Twitter and people expect whatever you put on there to be really funny or witty since you can only use 140 characters,” said Rachel Good, cofounder of media consulting firm Primary Fashion Music Management. “I use Twitter mainly to follow people and get news, not a lot for socializing with friends. A lot of them don’t even have a Twitter account.”

“But I’m bored.”

I am a culprit of logging onto Twitter, scrolling through, getting bored, locking my phone, then logging back onto Twitter two minutes later. How does that make sense? It doesn’t.

When I caught myself doing this, I immediately dropped my phone and went back to the book I should have been reading this entire week. I honestly believe I cling to my phone whenever I cannot bear being bored, but I end up staying bored anyway.

When I was younger, being an only child could be boring. From ages seven to 10 my favorite phrase was, “But I’m bored.” My parents’ response was always, “Find something to do.” I think I am too reliant on my phone for that thing to do.

A Huffington Post infographic, “How your iPhone is Harming Your Health,” gave examples on the effects of excessive phone use. Here are three eye-opening statistics:

1. People can actually get addicted to their phones. A 2012 study stated that 66 percent of people are actually afraid to lose their phones. Also, according to a HuffPost/YouGov survey, 50 percent of 18-29 year olds are using their phones while on the toilet.

2.  You can actually suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to drug and alcohol addiction when you’re going without your phone. These include fidgeting, anxiety and feeling isolated.

3. If you’ve ever felt your phone vibrate in your pocket, checked it and realized there were no updates, you’re not alone. There’s actually something called “phantom vibration syndrome: the imaginary feeling that your phone is buzzing when it really isn’t.” This is a sign you’ve been using your phone excessively. Last year, there was a study published where almost nine out of 10 undergrads reported they experienced phantom vibration syndrome.

What can you do?

Though this idea seems daunting to me, I want to turn my phone off for an entire 24 hours, and I challenge you to do the same.

Even though they have only been a part of my life for a few years, I always wonder, “What did people do before smartphones?” After reading the “Withdrawal” section of the Huffington Post’s infographic, I realized that is very much like me when I go without my phone.

For example, on Friday night I was with my friends, so I made it a point not to have my phone on me. Within ten minutes, I could feel my heart quicken because I forgot where I put it and needed to check it, even though I knew I probably wouldn’t have anything new to look at. Does this mean I’m officially a self-proclaimed addict?

I think so.

The next time I am home and have nothing to do, I am vowing to turn off my phone and see how long I can go without it. I’ve never done this, but I think it’s important to get back in touch with a way to find entertainment through other facets of life.

Go on a run, pick up a book, go meet up with a friend rather than text or tweet them. Pretend you’re living in the ‘50s and your phone doesn’t exist.

It’ll probably be invigorating.


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