Is social media making you depressed or anxious?

​Is your social validation is messing with your life?

Time for a digital detox? (Picture: Brantley Davidson, Flickr)

Time for a digital detox? (Picture: Brantley Davidson, Flickr)

Have you ever ignored the person you are with, be it a boyfriend or a friend, in order to look for a suitable #quoteoftheday (with just the right mix of inspiration and cute) to wow your hundred-something Instagram admirers?

This psychological thirst for social validation isn’t new. It’s always been around in one form or another, but the way it’s infiltrating our lives in the digital age is concerning.

So how many Likes did you get on your last Instagram post? 45? It feels so good! We are all craving the feeling which that little love heart or thumbs-up brings when we refresh our feed.

But social validation is here to warp our sense of self, in our phone, tablet, and desktop. According to a study called Society’s New Addiction: Getting a ‘Like’ over having a life; 52 per cent of those who are making the Likes rain on social media are born in the 90s, 45 per cent in the 80’s and 24 per cent are baby boomers.

Nowadays, instead of waiting by the telephone for that special person to call or text, we can achieve a similar yet quicker buzz from uploading a picture of ourselves on social media and then, hopefully, getting a lot of Likes. The reward pathways in our brain get triggered much in the same way as food, chocolate or intimacy.

Because social media is at our fingertips, highly populated and so immediate, we don’t have to rely on a particular individual to say nice things about us.

Who needs people when you have ‘Likes’, right?

We are spending a crazy amount of time on social media apps, looking for the next hit. For example, we spend an average of eight and half hours per week on Facebook, 45 per cent of us log in as soon as we wake up and most people immediately update their Status to keep their ‘finger on the pulse.’

75 per cent of people admitted to being rude or disconnected because they are more focused on their phones. 91 per cent have missed an enjoyable moment by trying to capture it for social media. That’s really sad.

‘Likes’ are a low-effort way to produce a feeling of social wellbeing that takes more effort to achieve in the real world. You may have first created an account in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat because your friends did, but what starts as a harmless post or two can quickly turn into an obsession.

This social validation for the digital age is messing with our lives big time. In our quest for Likes, we are more connected, yet, we are lonelier than ever.

What’s the antidote? To relax of course - but not by scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. And with this advice in mind, maybe it’s time to ditch the phone, and not care about how many people Like our pics. Let’s just look at what’s going on around us.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” What a great quote…. for Instagram…

Freddie can be found on Women Love Tech

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