Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Fitness -

If so­cial me­dia is tak­ing over your life: 1. Delete so­cial me­dia apps

If you’re wait­ing in a queue, for a bus, or for some­one to ar­rive is your au­to­matic in­stinct to open the Twit­ter app on your phone? You can’t check it if it’s not there — so con­sider delet­ing the app. You can still ac­cess it on your lap­top. Of course, some apps only work on your phone, like Snapchat or In­sta­gram. For those, try turn­ing off the no­ti­fi­ca­tions. That way, you’ll only check the app when you think about it in­stead of get­ting cues ev­ery time.

2. Set a timer

It’s fine to go on the likes of Face­book daily to have a quick scan, par­tic­u­larly if it’s rel­e­vant to your ca­reer or busi­ness. The prob­lem comes when you get sucked into the rab­bit hole and sud­denly re­alise you’ve spent two hours look­ing at pic­tures of some­one’s new house, wed­ding, or hol­i­day. Avoid this by set­ting a timer to re­mind you when it’s time to log off — 15 min­utes is a good start. If you can’t fol­low the timer, get an app that will force you off, like Self-Con­trol.

3. Change your no­ti­fi­ca­tions

Half the fun of us­ing with so­cial me­dia is the rush your brain gets when you see all those no­ti­fi­ca­tions. Re­duce the rush by get­ting fewer of them — it’s easy to change your pref­er­ences via the set­tings tab. Do you re­ally need to know ev­ery time your best friend up­loads a video?

4. Con­tact peo­ple in dif­fer­ent ways

Many of us like so­cial me­dia be­cause it helps us keep tabs on our long-dis­tance friends. Un­for­tu­nately, it also means we’re con­tent to merely be­ing Face­book friends with them and not ac­tu­ally mak­ing con­tact with them as of­ten as we should. If you no­tice it’s your friend’s birth­day, call him/her in­stead of writ­ing on their page. If you no­tice a friend you haven’t seen in a while on your news­feed write them an email in­stead. You can stay in touch with­out so­cial me­dia too. Or bet­ter still, meet them in per­son. No com­mu­ni­ca­tion is more pow­er­ful than hu­man in­ter­ac­tion.

5. Switch to air­plane mode

Have you ever heard of tech­nol­ogy eti­quette? When is it ap­pro­pri­ate to have your smart­phone out and when is it con­sid­ered rude? One sim­ple tip is to put your phone on ‘air­plane mode’ dur­ing meals, whether that’s in a restau­rant or at home with fam­ily. As par­ents, it’s also a bad prece­dent to set if you’re scrolling through In­sta­gram in one hand, eat­ing with the other, and barely lis­ten­ing to the con­ver­sa­tion. Es­pe­cially if you are telling your chil­dren they shouldn’t be on their phones so much.

6. Get your friends to join in

Next time you are out with your friends, play the ‘phone stack’ game. Every­one puts their phone in the mid­dle of the ta­ble. The first per­son to check their phone dur­ing the meal pays for din­ner. It works. We all need a lit­tle mo­ti­va­tion to re­sist the temp­ta­tion of our phones.

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