For as long as most of us can remember, social media has played a huge role in the way we interact with each other. Ever since the late 90’s, we’ve used networks like Friendster, hi5 and later on Myspace, to connect with old friends, make new ones and much more. Looking back however, it’s safe to say we never anticipated just how big of a role social media would play in our day to day lives.

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Nowadays, everyone from the youngest elementary school students to the oldest senior citizen home residents uses social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to do everything from playing video games to sharing bits and pieces of their personal lives and accessing new and exciting information.

Social media has completely taken over modern day life and it seems like we never got the chance to really sit down and think about whether or not we actually wanted or even needed this technology and more importantly, whether or not it was actually good for us.

Although some people think it may be a little too late to ask these questions, considering the widespread usage of social media in all aspects of society, others like 18-year-old Australian model Essena O’Neil, think there’s no time greater than the present. Recently, the model who had more than 500,000 Instagram followers and 200,000 YouTube subscribers, uploaded a video to YouTube announcing that she was quitting social media because she “had never been more miserable”.

Despite having a seemingly perfect life online, Essena found that social media was negatively affecting not only her general happiness, but also her mental health and wellbeing and she’s not the only one.

In September 2015, beauty, fashion and lifestyle vlogger, Raven Elyse, uploaded her own video to YouTube explaining to her subscribers that her recent absence from social media was a result of her own mental illness which required her to log off and take a break.

If you’re starting to wonder if social media is negatively affecting your life, read below and learn the seven signs telling you it’s time to sign off.

Sign #1 – You’ve been feeling depressed and anxious

Everyone gets sad from time to time, but if you notice that your depression and anxiety increases with your social media usage, then you may have a bigger problem on your hands. Research shows that Facebook has the ability to make us view our lives negatively. Studies have even concluded that “those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair, and those spending more time on Facebook each week agreed more that others were happier and had better lives,” interesting right?

Sign #2 – You’ve become more self centered. No one wants to hear all about you all the time 

Can you remember the last time you had a conversation with someone that wasn’t all about you, your life, your dreams, your goals, etc.? If not, then social media may be the culprit. ASAP Science reports that social media has increased the amount the average person spends speaking about themselves and although it’s good to share your life with your friends, family and even strangers, no one

Sign #3 – You socialize less

Social media allows you to constantly keep in touch with people all over the world, but unfortunately it’s in a way that minimizes the importance of face-to-face interaction. Because of the lack of body signals and other nonverbal cues people who spend a lot of time on social media networks are less able to effectively communicate in person. So If you can’t remember the last time you did something on a Friday night other than participate in Twitter After Dark or lurk around on Youtube I seriously suggest you log off and call up a few of your friends to have fun.

Sign #4 – You have a short attention span

For years now scientists have reported that attention spans are getting smaller and smaller. Research indicates that our brains aren’t able to fully focus on two things at once, and instead multitasking causes our brain to quickly switch from one task to another. If you’re constantly getting distracted away from more important things, such as school and work, by social media then that’s a definite sign to turn of your screen.

Sign #5 -You’re broke/spend all your money on games or shopping

Studies have shown that there may be a relationship between heavy social media use and lower self-control which lends to impulse buying. If you’ve notice that all of your money is going to games popularized on social media, like Candy Crush, or to buying all of the clothes, accessories and makeup you see others flaunting online then maybe social media isn’t for you.

Sign #6 – You feel physically ill

I’ll be willing to bet money on the fact that the majority of you reading this blog post right now most likely checked one of your social media profiles within the last thirty minutes. Heck, I’ll even be willing to bet that a lot of you took at look at either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram within the last fifteen minutes. Research shows that we spend entirely too much of our free time on social networks and by constantly being glued to the computer and phone screens we also become inactive and thus unhealthy. If you feel like social media is contributing to any physically illness that you have you should definitely sign off and see a doctor.

Sign #7 – You have low self esteem

Most of the time then people post on social media they’re presenting an idealized, unrealistic version of their life. Unfortunately, a lot of social media users don’t realize this and instead of interpreting it as entertainment, they compare themselves to others and think less of their own lives. If social media likes, comments and follows have become a large part of how you view yourself and your life, then it’s time to sign off.

There are many positive and negative effects to consider when discussing social media. Networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be used for good or bad, but its entirely up to the user. If you notice any of these signs that you should sign off social media, don’t take them for granted. Speak with your doctor or a trusted family member or friend if you can’t handle it on your own.

Do you think social media is bad for society? Comment below!

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