Instagram Addiction; Introduction
I’ve been thinking about Instagram and how much I love it. About how I might have an Instagram addiction that needs managing. Sometimes I love it a bit too much tbh. I currently laugh in the face of my 30 minute time reminder and dread to think how many minutes I’ve clocked up in total over my three months using Instagram.
This post falls into five sections;
- Why Change?
- My Usage
- A Plan
- Relevance to Childhood Addictions
Just before I really get going…..I have talked a bit about addiction. I’m conscious that there are far more severe and serious addictions out there and I feel lucky to be talking about something so mild. However even mild addictions can impact significantly on your life; so here I am writing this post. Hopefully my strategy will help somebody in a similar situation with social media or perhaps computer games. Obviously more serious addictions require professional help which can be accessed via your G.P.
Managing Instagram Addiction; Why Change?
Instagram offers many positives and I would (at the moment) rather be on it, than zoning out in front of the TV. But equally I don’t want it to be all I do in my free time. Nor do I want it to be something I feel I need to sneak off to do (😳😬) or even start the day with 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️.
I don’t want to leave, but I can see it could becoming one of those things which I quit for self preservation…. if I don’t regulate my usage. I feel like this would be a shame as I learn from it, laugh a lot and (which is a complete surprise to me) feel like I’ve made some new friends. It’s a different friendship from the friends you see day to day, face to face, but it’s still friendship and you still look out for people.
So that is why I’ve been thinking about how I can regulate my usage. My first step towards change is telling you and telling my husband that I’m regulating my usage. I would say I am a very honest person, so I won’t want to cheat on what I have said I’m doing.
So, the second step is looking at my usage…here are my behaviours / usage…
1) Posting – this is probably the most predictable and quickest part of Instagram. Except for stories that is – constructing my own stories still baffles me!
2) The quick look – this is the most disruptive to my life and thoughts. It interrupts what I’m doing, thinking, hearing and saying. It causes a fog! This fog is perhaps not surprising, given that (for me) it’s so often about escaping into a land where I can zone out!
A “quick look” might be a scroll on my news feed, a check on how a post is going 🤦🏻♀️, a look at my favourite accounts, a gander at a few stories or a click on suggested people to follow.
3) The BIG zone out; this can turn into a lost evening 😳. It sometimes starts as a quick look, but the minutes turn into hours, turn into an evening. Sometimes it’s premeditated. I mind the planned zone outs less.
4) Messaging. This doesn’t really feel like Instagram and isn’t something I do loads of. Messaging just feels like texting a friend (except for the random messages you get sometimes!). It isn’t a behaviour that concerns me in itself, but I have to login to Instagram to read/send messages and might then have a “quick look”….see above!
Coming next is the plan (a plan which I can see myself using with my little ones when they almost inevitably arrive at an electronic/social media crossroads…).
Managing Instagram Addiction; The Plan…
Decide on a weekly usage that I’m happy with….voila!
* Max 5 posts a week with the option of one story as well if I can fathom it out!
* 2 long Instagram plays (One 45 minute and one hour)
* 3 short Instagram “quick looks” (a 10, 15 and 20 minute session)
👉I also want to have at least 2 days completely free of Instagram.
👉I only want my Instagram time to occur between the hours of 9am and 9pm.
Basically I don’t want Instagram to be anymore consuming than my Eastenders habit of the 90’s and I’m hoping that the above (almost) reflects that.
Give myself some INSTA’ spending money.
Yes I’ve made some Insta’ money. 😱🤯
If I’m going to act like a child….I’m not sure we ever fully grow up, not once the children are in bed anyway, we just get better at acting it. Maybe I should just speak for myself (I’m a big kid).
The “money” is about keeping track and being mindful about what I am doing. I’m hoping that the “money” will help me stick to my plan and find a way to manage my Instagram Addiction!
Remind myself that it will be hard and plan for this fact..
There is so much else that I love to do, so hopefully a list of these things will help me – reading, cooking, having a bath, talking to my husband, talking to friends, watching some television, sorting out some of the random things that I’m always looking for a moment to sort….
Review the plan and amend accordingly
Hopefully I’ll see the benefits and cut back more…maybe even finish off a couple of DIY projects…..and then post about them 😂…..wish me luck!
How this might apply to your Children; e.g. managing tablet time!
Explaining to children that it will be difficult and they might be cross / frustrated / upset is a really important step. It is likely that a child will not have much experience of giving stuff up. Regulating an addictive behaviour is hard.
Children are (quite rightly) used to following their feelings, so will need support in fighting them. They need to expect the feeling of finding it hard. And they will probably need help in identifying at what point it is stopping being fun, and starting to become damaging.*
So tell your child that they will want to keep playing as changing what you’re doing requires effort (and that effort is especially hard to muster when you’re tired and/or zoned out!).
Then when it is hard and the “one more go” inevitably argument kicks in you can refer back to that calm conversation. “We knew it probably wasn’t going to be easy.” Tell them that this is how finding it hard feels; offer them those distractions you talked about. Breaking habits is hard; focus on the feeling better for it. After all, too much of anything makes you feel yucky.
And perhaps most importantly talk about all the other fun things that they can do. If you’re really desperate you could always make some slime!
*perhaps it’s interfering with school work, sleep, family life or emotions, or just making them feel grottier. A full life needs a myriad of different activities and aspects afterall.
If you’re reading this because it resonates, good luck in making any changes to your or your loved ones’ habits and lives. If it doesn’t resonate, I’m not mad. Promise.
P.S. Nobody is going to beat an algorithm. It’s not human.