Social Media: Has Your Addiction Gone Too Far?

Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr. Instagram. In the past few years, social media has absolutely blown up, creating countless opportunities for people to communicate, without actually meeting face-to-face. Though it certainly has its benefits -- Skyping with loved ones, connected with long lost friends -- social media has rapidly taken over many people's social lives, impacting their self-esteem, social skills and emotional health.

Facebook is among one of the most addicting (and therefore concerning) social networks. Nearly a quarter of Facebook users check their accounts five times or more per day. Furthermore, in a study conducted by IDC for Facebook, 25 percent of smartphone owners ages 18-44 say they can't recall the last time their smartphone wasn't next to them. This addiction to social media and technology is definitely very concerning for society as a whole; how will we be able to effectively communicate in person with another while we are glued to our smartphone screens the whole time? If you consider yourself a self-proclaimed social media addict, or simply want to spend less time using social networks, here are some simple tips to break your addiction:

1. Admit you have a problem. Though this might sound a little AA, admitting you have a problem will help you forgive yourself for it and realize that you need a change.

2. List out all the reasons why you go on social media excessively in the first place. Are you bored? Do you not like the people you are surrounded by? Aim to fulfill these underlying needs in other ways; if you're bored, take your dog for a walk, call an old friend or pick up a book from the library. Your news feed will still be there when you get back!

3. Balance your social media life with offline interactions. Getting off your computer or smartphone and hanging out with friends or family will not only strike a balance between offline and online interactions, but will also be an instant mood booster!

4. That being said, put a limit on the amount of time spent using social media. If you need to study for a big test tomorrow and keep getting distracted by Facebook, you can even use a program such as this one to limit how much time you spend on the website. After your preset time limit is filled, you're done for the day!