Social media anxiety prominent in younger generation

Dan Lykens

Carly Yamrus, Opinion Editor

Checking.
We are always “checking” something.
Checking our e-mail, our Facebook, our Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Snapchat, Vine.

Scrolling
We are scrolling, and checking, and scrolling, and locking our phones.
Unlock, scroll, check, scroll, check, scroll, lock phone.
I have this problem. I’ve had this problem for years. After years of thinking, “Well I just really like my phone,” I’m finally giving it up. I don’t like my phone.
It is easy to argue “just use it in moderation,” or “just leave it at home,” which are all practical arguments in theory.
However, you wouldn’t tell a smoker to “just leave their cigarettes at home.” Or an alcoholic to “just drink in moderation.”
I’ve known that social media is an addiction for some time now, but what I never realized was the emotional toll it can take on an avid user.
The habit, coined by Julie Spira, author of  “The Rules of Netiquette,” is called Social Media Anxiety Disorder.
SMAD refers to the compulsory and anxious behavior associated with not only social media, but also the phone itself.
SMAD, which is now ironically a Twitter tag, can be identified in many different ways.
You may have SMAD if you cannot get through dinner without checking your phone for updates or messages, if you cannot go out without your phone charger, or feel anxious that your phone might die.
Other “symptoms” would be deleting your posts when they do not get enough likes or comments and constantly refreshing your feeds for updates.
You may have SMAD if you feel anxious when you cannot immediately answer a message, and if you sleep with your phone.
Aside from these symptoms, the overall concept of “creeping” is as emotionally unhealthy as it gets.
Social media does not agree with “what you don’t know can’t hurt you,” since anything and everything can pop up on your screen as you scroll and check.
Now I’m not a doctor, but if you think you have Social Media Anxiety Disorder, then you probably do.
The problem with social media is that everyone has it. What makes quitting so hard is that everyone else’s lives are still connected, even if you decide to leave.
The goal is to not care that everyone else has social media and you don’t.
The best way I can think of getting over SMAD would be to delete all social media accounts completely.
Quitting anything is a conscious effort. The first step is admitting you have a problem.
If you cannot bring yourself to delete the accounts, make a promise to yourself to only use the websites once or twice a day, and for the reasons the websites were intended.
Leave your phone at home, or in your backpack or purse. That way, you are not itching to take it out of your pocket every second you get bored.
SMAD is not recognized as a medical disorder, but it is a real issue for some people.
It can be a challenge to get over it, especially if you have been using your social media and phone for years.
Although it may take some time, it will be worth it in the end when your social media accounts hardly matter to you at all.