What addiction could be worse than drug abuse or alcohol? If you are finding it hard to turn away from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or any other social media platform, then you are struggling with digital addiction. But the good news is you are not alone and over the last few years, social media users who can’t seem to resist scrolling through their Facebook or Instagram feed during work hours or those who panic when they lose internet connection are seeking treatments via professionals.
Therapists are offering counseling, mindfulness coaches are hosting detox retreats, to help you get through the day without constant, compulsive scrolling. In the last few years, the number of patients seeking help from Nathan Driskell, a therapist in Houston, Texas in the US, for social media addiction rose to 20% and now make up almost half of his patients, he says. Interestingly, clients asking for help with computer-game addiction have somewhat declined, he says.
In some ways, the psychological impact caused by Facebook, Snapchat and other digital platforms can be more difficult to treat than other recognized addictions, Driskell says. “It’s worse than alcohol or drug abuse because it’s much more engaging and there’s no stigma behind it,” he says.
It is equally possible to overcome the anxiousness you feel when you can’t check Twitter, Instagram with your mobile device, but how? Timeout is the go-to app for winning your battle with social media/ smartphone addiction. With apps, emails and notifications all at our finger tips, it’s becoming a herculean task to effectively manage our time and focus on our priorities.
Timeout uses 3 metrics to measure your smartphone usage, these are Duration, Allocation and Frequency which are displayed on the home screen. It is effective in monitoring the amount of time spent on the tracked apps. It also shows the percentage of allotted that has been used and number of times the tracked apps have been accessed for that day. The user can set Usage restriction which locks them out when the duration allotted has been consumed. Aside from providing information on Device Uptime, Device Usage Time and Battery charging time, the usage analytics also offers a break down report on each of the tracked apps. Timeout provides people who observe a rise in their social media engagement, with an opportunity to tackle it on their own.
Rather than waiting until you have a problem, it’s important for users to seek out a healthy routine after learning best practices. Pamela Rutledge, a director of the Media Psychology Research Centre, a California-based research institution says that good technology habits need to be put into place as soon as new technology emerges.“People tend to go right to calling it an addiction,” she says. “Rather than thinking about it as a lack of balance.”
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