But the endless hours spent sitting on the sofa over the holiday period bring out the worst of our phone habits, so this year we’re taking the matter in hand and going cold turkey on scrolling, swiping, and non-sober tweeting.
1. The endless scroll.
What is it:A new study has revealed that it isn’t using social media in itself that negatively affects our mental wellbeing, the bigger issue comes with passive use of these platforms, known as ‘the scroll’. With an endless timeline that reloads at the touch of a button, it’s difficult to know when to stop.
How can you stop doing it: We’re all guilty of doing this (especially just as we’re about to go to sleep...) and before you know it, a whole twenty minutes has flown by and you’re wondering where the time has gone.
The way to solve this is by setting yourself a time limit. If you’ve only got two minutes on Facebook, you message the people you want to speak to, look at those engagement photos, and then leave.
2. Mindless Tinder swiping.
What is it: Looking for love (or lust) online is all well and good, that is, when you’re actually planning to follow through. Otherwise, Tinder has been shown in multiple studies to cause self-esteem issues. And no one could argue that the mindless Tinder swiping that goes on over Christmas is anything other than wanting to know which of your childhood crushes are still in the neighbourhood...
How can you stop doing it: Unless you’re planning to recruit a last-minute-date for Christmas lunch with your parents, can you really justify looking at stranger’s faces all Boxing Day? Just ditch Tinder all together, and start your quest again in January when everyone else will be as desperate as you.
3. Stalking your ex.
What is it: We don’t need a study to confirm what we all know to be true - looking at pictures of your ex-partner with their new love, while you sit at home with a family sharing box of Quality Street, never made anyone feel like Beyoncé. The holiday period is the ultimate inducer of “I-shall-die-alone-being-eaten-by-a-flock-of-cats” type feelings, you don’t need to add fuel to the fire.
How can you stop doing it: Firstly, why do you even still have them on social media? As we head into the new year, perhaps it is worth considering a little festive cull? And if you can’t quite summon the energy to cut your online ties just yet, then at least stop the mindless scrolling (see point one) and you’ll be surprised how you don’t “accidentally” end up on your ex-partners-sisters-boyfriends-second-cousin’s profile.
4. Drunk tweeting.
What is it: In days gone by, after (a few) too many at the pub, you would only have your friends as an audience for your unpopular political opinions and conspiracy theories. Now you’ve got the world wide web. Within seconds you can go from being a passive Twitter user, to having your boss know what you really think happened at Roswell.
How can you stop doing it: Don’t be too harsh on yourself, some of the world’s best tweets have come to light in the early hours of the morning. But if you really need to get the situation under control, may we suggest downloading the Drunk Lock app, designed to protect you from yourself, it is the first app to stop you from using your social networks. Even if you delete it...
5. Comparing your life to others via social media.
What is it: Comparison is the thief of joy. And there has never been a better vehicle for this than your handheld-joy-stealing-device. Scroll through any social media platform, and everyone you know (even that boy from school who used to stick Skittles up his nose) is on track to promotions, proposals and parenthood. Meanwhile you’ve just worked out how to properly operate the washing machine.
How can you stop doing it: If you’re able to acknowledge that no one ever puts up a selfie when they’re covered in spots, having just been fired from their job and been cheating on by their SO, then you’re 90% of the way there.