Do any of the following resonate with you?

  • You find yourself thinking in short, concise thoughts that would be perfect for a tweet or Facebook status update.
  • You feel lost without your iPhone in hand.
  • At first, the iPad looked absolutely ridiculous to you. Now, if yours broke or got lost, it would be next to impossible to get out of bed that day.
  • You’re intolerable when you can’t immediately get whatever you want, asking “Where are we, Amish country?!”
  • If you don’t receive at least 10 likes on your photo, post, or tweet within 30 minutes of posting, you feel disappointed in yourself.
  • Even though you played Oregon Trail as a kid, it’s amazing to think that pioneers got around without GPS.
  • Losing your phone is one of the hardest things that can happen to you.
  • Checking your email has become a compulsion, preventing you from enjoying meals.
  • Have you ever tried to pin something down that you saw in real life?
  • If you didn’t share it on Instagram, it’s as if the event never took place.

If any of these signs of social media addiction sounds familiar, then you’re probably addicted to social media. But don’t worry, all your friends are too except for that one token friend who always talks about how healthy she is and how much better her life is because she doesn’t own a television. You hate her anyway though, so it doesn’t matter. You and most other people in your generation are addicted to social media.

Cisco’s recent Connected World Report surveyed 1441 college students and 1,412 professionals under 30 to study how mobile technology has changed the lifestyles and working habits of Generation Y. Surprisingly, 90 percent of participants said they check their smartphones as soon as they wake up in the morning. I mean, really? What did people even do before there were smart phones? Check on their kids or something?

According to the survey, 46 percent of Generation Y uses smartphones for texting, emailing, and checking social media during meals with family and friends. The same survey found that 20 percent are checking their phone every 10 minutes and one in six are texting while driving- even though it’s illegal. “Addiction is a strong word, but the way many under-30s interact with their smartphones can only be classed as addictive or compulsive behaviour,” Cisco’s A/NZ CTO Kevin Bloch said. Many people are so attached to their phones that they won’t even put them down when they go to the bathroom.

What is wrong with us? It’s only been ten years since Twitter, Instagram, and half the stuff we use daily were invented, but now we can’t imagine living without them. Seriously, I wake up and check my email automatically – even on weekends. It has become a reflex. The other week, I was having dinner with some girlfriends when I noticed that we were all checking our phones regularly throughout the meal to see if new photos had been posted to Instagram. What is happening?

Our need for instant gratification is a large part of our problem. We want what we want, when we want it–and we’ve always had access to that. However, this wasn’t always the case. It’s almost as if we forget those early years waiting for a friend to call us back or renting DVDs from the store (or VHS tapes!). We got used to getting everything we wanted the second we wanted it fast, but now we are ruined.

Our need for stimulus is another factor we must consider. How did the women in Jane Austen novels do it? No wonder they were such avid gossipers! There was nothing else to occupy their time! 

Can we break our social media addiction symptoms, or are we doomed? We brainstormed a few ideas that might help at least decrease our dependence. To hold ourselves accountable, we’re going to try them out too. Understanding social media addiction facts might help in addressing this issue further.

Learn Something New

Step into your role as an Austen heroine and get things done! Try knitting, joining a book club, or cooking all those delicious foods you’ve been pinning!

Restrict Yourself

Do you really need to have Twitter installed on both your phone and computer if you’re only using it for work? The same can be said for Facebook. Is it breaking news that Devon passed his Series 7?

Be in the Moment

Although this may be tough, it’s definitely worth it in the end. Next time you go out to dinner or see a movie, try your best to resist the urge to pull out your phone. Instead, pretend it’s 1994 and that cell phones don’t even exist yet! It’ll be more fun than you think!

Let’s be honest—how addicted to social media are you? Are you noticing any signs of social media addiction? Understanding the symptoms of social media addiction can help manage our interaction with it.

Ask Carly Heitlinger, Levo’s Director of New Media, how she manages her time on social media.

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