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Time well spent on social media

Social media, in its relatively short lifespan, has managed to seduce our senses and fight for our attention, and it’s not hard to see why…

Instagram is filled with captivating visuals across a variety of disciplines, from travel to animal life, views from above, delectable treats and inspiring artwork.

Twitter, in short punchy lines and quickly snapped pictures, summarises the opinions, feelings & thoughts of political leaders, celebrities and the everyday citizen.

Facebook keeps us connected to our loved ones far away, creates community where community would otherwise be lost and entertains us with videos and images that seem to be never-ending.

With so many social platforms vying for our limited time, managing our time spent here has become more of a need than a want.

So how much time do we spend on social media?

A report from Global Web Index (GWI) earlier this year, suggests that internet users spend an average of 2 hours 22 minutes on social platforms, per day.

Per day. That’s a lot of time on social media. Of course, the average varies across age groups, with the 16 – 24-year age bracket being the heaviest time consumers, at over 3 hours per day.

Interestingly, the average time spent on social media across multiple regions is levelling-off or decreasing. People are becoming more in need of face-to-face connection, and the value of ‘switching off’ from tech. Added to this is the potential negatives of social media that have been much paraded about recently. Most notably that of privacy and how your data is shared.

How do we limit our time spent on social networks?

Determine what healthy social media boundaries mean for you. This may be a time stamp on social media activity – 1 hour per day – OR it may be the appropriateness of scrolling through social channels based on activities. For example, working hours and evenings after 6pm become solely no-go times. These can be seen as hours to spend focused on the tasks of the day and quality time with those you love.

The burning question… do social platforms help us manage our time?

Yes and no. If you’re scrolling through Twitter, your monitoring ability is quite limited.

Facebook – yes, if you’re on the app:

  • Click the burger menu (3 little lines), bottom right of the screen
  • Click Settings & Privacy
  • Tap on ‘Your Time on Facebook’
  • Here you will see a clear indication of time spent in the last week, as well as an average per day
  • You can also set a time reminder to let you know that you’ve used up your chosen time on the platform

Instagram – yes, as with Facebook:

  • Go to your profile & tap the hamburger menu, top right of the screen
  • Tap Your Activity
  • Here you will see time spent in the last week, with an average time per day
  • As with Facebook, you can set a daily reminder for when you’ve reached your Instagram limit

Setting healthy boundaries around time spent on social media removes the guilt feeling of ‘wasted time’ scrolling endlessly through reams of content. Perhaps it will even bring back that little spark of excitement you once got when first signing-in to your now old friend of Facebook.