10 Tips to Stop Being Manipulated by Social Media
Admit it, you have a profile on at least one social media platform. This statistic shows that there are at least 53 million Facebook users in the US. Every day we open different apps and scroll through the timelines. However, we rarely think what a huge impact social media platforms have on our life. From being a simple time-consuming hobby to a global opinion influencer, social media manipulates our lives. It’s up to you to decide whether to allow it or not.
Bright Side gathered 10 simple yet useful tips on how to find a balance between your social life and your real-life activities.
1. Why are you scrolling down the newsfeed?
Social media platforms have their own means and tools that attract our attention and make us spend hours browsing new pages. According to recent statistics, teens spend up to 9 hours a day on social platforms and the average adult spends nearly two hours on different social platforms. It’s more than we usually spend interacting with family or eating.
So why do we do this? This is the first question we should ask ourselves. Of course, there are people who just have to do it for their work or those who prefer to back up their brain using gadgets and social media. But why of all possible ways of relaxation do we choose to scroll the infinite newsfeed for hours? Let’s be honest and admit that we rarely see something new every hour as we open the social media app.
2. Know the gap between social media life and your real life.
We often talk about unrealistic images that celebrities post on social media and how different their real life really is. However, we rarely think we also do the same thing. We want to share only the most exciting, beautiful, and flawless moments of our lives and we skip out on the boring details.
Thus, people unintentionally create the idea of a perfect life. Have you ever felt jealous of someone and their perfect life? They may have more friends than you, photos in a big mansion, a fit tanned body, or a big cute dog. We all know them. But are they real? Do these people really live like that? Just like us, they want the world to see only the perfect side and they hide the rest. That’s why it’s very important to see the difference between the real image of a person and the one they try to create on social media.
3. Follow what you’re interested in, not what is popular.
There are millions of different accounts and pages on social media. While you browse social media you can find yourself trapped in a loop of following one popular account after another. While other people might think that following the account of a famous celebrity is a must, you might find it boring. Why would you want to watch how other people fight and get plastic surgery? You have your own life and your time is precious, so devote it to the things that matter, not to the things that other people consider popular. Don’t let social media manipulate your interests and preferences.
4. Turn off “share mode.”
Every minute of our life is precious and we’re always eager to share the most exciting events with our friends. However, some people can get too attached to their gadgets so they spend almost all of their free time browsing telephone apps. No matter what they do, they feel the need to share it on social media. They don’t notice what’s going on around them because they’re too busy applying filters and thinking up of hashtags.
Experts say that modern people are afraid that their friends will forget about them if they don’t appear on the timeline as often as possible. Don’t develop the fear of missing out on life. In fact, according to Tech Times, FoMO (fear of missing out) can lead to depression and anxiety in teen social media users. A balance must be found in everything. Turn off “share mode” and enjoy the precious moments in your life with your friends and family. You can always post a photo later and stay engaged now.
5. Interact with real people more often.
If you don’t live in a galaxy far far away, try to interact more often with real people than their digital avatars. Plus, it’s much healthier to go for a walk with your friends than to stay inside chatting with them on social media. There’s nothing like seeing your friends smile or poking them on the shoulder after a brilliant joke. Make new connections. Face-to-face.
6. Turn on only the most important notifications.
It might sound funny at first, but why not? Why would you have all of the notifications turned on all the time and see them appear on your screen as soon as someone likes a link or posts a picture of a cute dog? If you’re going to stop what you’re doing at the moment to open a social media app, make sure it’s for a good reason.
If you value your time, you might want to limit the amount of time you spend on social media to 30 minutes a day. We promise you won’t miss anything if you turn off the notifications. Plus, you’ll be more focused on your job or a hobby because you won’t get interrupted by non-stop notifications from different apps.
7. Know when to unplug and find a time-consuming hobby.
Technology provides us with different ways of interacting with people and helps us stay in touch with friends on other continents. However, it’s very important to understand that we let gadgets consume our free time pretty pointlessly. We play games, chat with people, read articles, and forget about real-life hobbies.
If you like jogging, for example, don’t take your phone with you. Don’t get interrupted by anything. If you don’t have a hobby, it’s pretty easy to find a new one. Yoga, painting, cooking, or even acting classes is a perfect place to start. If you like coffee, invite your friend and tell them how it’s made. Forget about your phone. Plug into real life.
8. Don’t be an easy target for online ads.
They are everywhere even if you have a special app that blocks most of the ads. No matter what website or social app you open, you will see a targeted ad. Companies spend millions of dollars to attract their target customers and convince them to buy things.
The most vulnerable target category, however, is our children. When you let your child use your phone keep in mind that they might want to browse a bit more than they’re allowed to. Big brands want to get into kids’ heads and stay there.
As for adults, big companies base their ads on your preferences, likes, and shares on the social media feed. The more you see the ad, the stronger your desire to purchase will be. Just be moderate and remember that sometimes companies advertise things that you don’t even need.
9. Avoid the most common manipulation tactics.
If you’re aware of the most common manipulation techniques, you can easily avoid them. Social media platforms use different means to influence our opinion, decision-making, and preferences. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to become paranoid and ditch your social media life. Just don’t get too caught up in the online life. Don’t take everything you see on the internet for granted. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than you are. Engage more thinking and fewer emotions. Learn more about yourself than about other people.
10. Promote safe online behavior.
You can do anything you want on the internet. On the other hand, you can get tricked, lied to, manipulated, and even bullied. One of the dangers you can face is cyberbullying. Today 45% of children admit they have experienced bullying online. That is why it’s very important to promote safe online behavior and use the internet wisely. Everything you post can be used against you — even a small piece of information about yourself. It’s very important to protect children from suffering at the hands of cyberbullies. In this article, 6 of the richest people on our planet shared their parenting tips. Their child-raising experiences include creating a positive atmosphere and a gadget-free approach that might help avoid being bullied.
How do you find the perfect balance between social media and real life? Or do you prefer to be a screen junkie? Share your tricks and advice in the comments.
Preview photo credit fitfenji/instagram
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for BrightSide.me