The Social Dilemma has made us all painfully aware of how we often let social media run our lives. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even YouTube, dictate what we watch and how long we scroll. So if you find yourself feeling guilty after watching the documentary, then here are a few lifestyle changes you can make for a healthier social media experience. 

1. Keep a conscious track of how much time you spend on social media

Every smartphone can track how much time you spend on each app. So the first step towards fixing the problem is understanding it. How much time are you exactly browsing for? And can you even remember what you did on Instagram for 2 hours on Saturday night? 

2. Do not check your phone as soon as you wake up

Ideally, it is recommended that you don’t check your phone before noon. However, if you have to do it for work, then wake up early so you get at least an hour without social media in the morning. It helps you centre and plan your day. 

3. Lock your social media accounts when you don’t need it

Controlling how much time you spend on an app can go a long way in realising if you’re truly addicted to it. Also, if you’re having dinner with your family, planning on going to bed or just watching a movie – then you can lock your apps. This way you still can receive phone calls that may be important but can’t endlessly scroll. 

4. Not let predictive videos dictate what you’re supposed to watch

Turning off auto-suggestions or simply just not looking at the next video you’re being suggested is enough to break free of the cycle. Do not fall down the rabbit hole. 

5. Check the settings of each social media app and see how much you are sharing

You can actually go to your Facebook settings and monitor how much information you want the app to share with third-parties. Turning off your location also reduces how much you’re tracked. On Instagram, you can monitor the ads that you are shown by choosing ad preferences – but that’s basically just picking the lesser of two evils. 

6. Understand that you are probably already in the Matrix

Acknowledging the problem is the first step, isn’t it? Do you spend more time on social media than you should? Probably. Should you start making an effort to log out and not keep looking at the screen just because you’re bored? Yes. 

7. Find ways to do things away from your screen

Take up skills and hobbies that don’t require you to use these apps. In lockdown, it has been very convenient to spend all day in bed with your phone right over your head. But picking up a book, playing board games, cooking, going for a run – give you the space you need away from your screen. 

8. Say bye-bye to social media notifications

Turning off your social media notifications or even just limiting them to just messages you receive help you steer clear. Also, unfollowing people who don’t make you happy or those who don’t add to your life can go a long way in changing your social media experience. 

9. Decide what you want from your social media account before you open it 

Before you open the app, ask yourself what you want from it, how long you’re going to spend on it and if you’re looking for something specific. This can save you from losing yourself and help you un-glue your eyes when necessary. 

It’s not easy to un-plug and in this day and age, you probably can’t survive work without social media. But you can choose to practice healthier internet habits.