Is social media hijacking our BRAIN?

By Jernavis Draughn

The average user touches their cell phone 2,617 times per day. The extreme users touch their phone 5,400 times per day. According to Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of nine hours a day online (paywall), compared to about six hours for those aged eight to 12 and 50 minutes for kids between 0 and eight. American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media, according to a new study by market-research group Nielsen. That’s up from nine hours, 32 minutes just four years ago. These statistics state we are not only addicted to our phones, but all platforms of social media. Dr. Nicholas Kardares once said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

The average user touches their cell phone 2,617 times per day. The extreme users touch their phone 5,400 times per day. According to Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of nine hours a day online (paywall), compared to about six hours for those aged eight to 12 and 50 minutes for kids between 0 and eight. American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media, according to a new study by market-research group Nielsen. That’s up from nine hours, 32 minutes just four years ago. These statistics state we are not only addicted to our phones, but all platforms of social media. Dr. Nicholas Kardares once said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

The growth of technology has helped us reconnect, build, network, sale, influence and inspire people worldwide. The benefits of how social media platforms push our lives forward have been remarkable. We now are able to directly email or call job opportunities. We can connect with lost family members and friends that we haven’t communicated in years with. We have access to a plethora of information from, how to fix, learn, lose weight, and so much more. Is social media hurting us more than helping us? These statics show that our phones, ipad, and technology in general has become a digital drug.

We live in an insecure selfie taking by the second world. Why do we need to post thousands of pictures of ourselves online? Are we yearning for approval? Are we hurting inside? Are we scared to face the truth of who we truly are? Are we not happy with ourselves and we need others to affirm us? Eric Ries, says people are addicted to vanity metrics. “It’s an endless pursuit of vanity metrics that stroke the ego.” I totally agree with him, by how we strive to receive likes, repost, shares, messages, etc. These notifications provide dopamine shots that give us instant gratification and self-confidence. The interesting notion is, self-confidence cannot be loaned to you, it has to be discovered and worked on. Self-love equals self-confidence. Our society’s personal identity and attention is being created and consumed by this digital drug, called social media.

In the book Attention Pays, by Neen James, she discusses how social media and technology is affecting our society in some negative ways. Our time and attention has been stolen by social media platforms. We only have 24 hours in a day and if most people are on social media sites for 11 hours or more, how can we reach our full potential in life? How can we create strong relationships with people, if our attention is elsewhere? How can we thrive in our career field, if were not focus and making time to grow? Social media and most online platforms are created to steal your time. That’s how they create revenue by clicks, adds, gossip news, interviews, and games. How can you steal your time back? Value yourself more? Here’s five ways that I’ve implemented in my daily schedule to intentionally secure my time and reaching my full potential.

1. Turn off ALL notifications on ALL social media apps you have on your PHONE. You can’t buy more time, but you can spend it differently.

2. Create a morning routine, that doesn’t include using or looking at your PHONE for the first 60 minutes. Use your attention in a more productive way to start your day. This productivity habit will govern how your entire day will go. Ex: Read, listen to something educational, pray, workout, etc.)

3. Learn to check your email only 3-5 times a day. As an entrepreneur, I’m learning how to delegate any task that I feel someone else can do on the same level or better than myself.  Don’t live in reaction mode, where people are dictating where your attention is going.

4. Give yourself a daily time limit on how long you can use social media. What are you using social media for? That’s the question you need to answer? Is social media using you or are you using social media? Is social media helping rebuild, connect to a friend or family member? Is social media helping you grow at your job? Is social media helping you build your business or brand? Are you receiving new clients from your social media platforms? If you answered no to any of these questions, you should really think about why you’re using social media platforms.

5. Learn to LOVE yourself. Identity drives behavior. If you don’t know who you are or who you want to be, then your fall victim to looking and doing what every other social media model or star is doing to receive ATTENTION.

Quote of Day: “We don’t have choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.”-Erik Qualman

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