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There was a time when parents used to warn their children to return home from the park at the specified time or else they would be locked in the perpetually non-existent “Chuhon wala Kamra” for coming back home late and now, the parents whine that their kids hardly step out of home. Even if they do, the universe knows whether they are at Nathu Ram departmental store or at Bondhu Lal sweet shop. All thanks to the position update option available at numerous social networking websites. Sitting at Mcdonalds, you fail to spend quality time with the persons sitting at the opposite side of the table because you were occupied telling your imaginary friends/followers on facebook, twitter and whatsapp that you have ordered the happy price menu & the bill amount inclusive of all taxes is Rs. 99.99. A strong impulse to crack that criminal case on facebook conquers the need to work out a strategy for the exam tomorrow.
Social networking websites are manufacturers of desire. The desire to check facebook notifications when your mind says that ‘I am bored’, desire to browse tweets when your mind says ‘lets see whats going on around the world’. The desire is so intense that even while you are doing some important work, social applications are running behind the Word processor window on a computer or minimzed to tray on your smartphone. You put our phone away for a while and the thought of checking texts, emails, notifications etc. lurks in your mind, you take a short break from work and check your social accounts in that time.
If you get to hear “you are always logged on”, “put your phone away”, “kabhi computer/phone ko saans bhi lene diya karo” like sentences more than twice a day and depict all/any of the traits mentioned in this para, you should admit that you are a social addict. At least, ‘I admit that I am’ and I don’t support the point of giving up social network completely because ‘excess of everything is bad’, be it social addiction or social de-addiction to an extent that we flee from the social front. The only goal of this writeup is to bring myself and the readers back to being a social animal from being a social wild animal which the low cost internet packages have made us. Lets talk about the steps we can take to achieve our goal of being a social animal from being socially wild:-
1.) Motivation:- The first thing you can do to achieve any objective is to motivate yourself to do the same. Write down a few things you can do if you don’t use social sites for a few hours, a few benefits of not being on social sites for a few days etc. Read these points daily. “Motivation is doing the thing you said you would do long after the time the mood you said it in has left you.” Read these points everyday to stay motivated to achieve your goal. This motivation technique can be used to achieve any goal in general.
1.) Shut-down timers- Shut-down timers are very minute size softwares available liberally and easily on the internet which shut down your computer at the time you specify . So, if you are really serious on getting rid of the ‘checking habit’, install this in your PC. The next time you log-in to your social account, set a timer of 30 minutes or 1 hour and the computer will automatically shut down at the specified time. Even if you bang your head in the monitor screen or scream “Nahiiii….” Loudly because you wanted to ‘Like’ the status of your girlfriend, the computer won’t pay heed to your actions or words and perform its job. You may also set an alarm on your cell phone for this purpose but, I won’t support that because it is very easy to turn off the cell phone alarm and continue the session.
2.) Cut the connection– Secondly, you should reduce the means through which you can access your social network. Cell phones are fundamentally meant for making and taking calls and sending short messages, if you’ll not recharge your cell phone internet pack the next time, that’ll surely help you get rid of the habit forming technology.
3.) Respect the rules- Internet serves various other purposes apart from being a means for you to connect socially. Avoid the use of social networking sites while being at workplace because the bills of that connection are being paid to appreciate the output you have achieved through the productive use of internet, not to appreciate the criminal cases you have solved on facebook. Ask a colleague to block the social networking sites from your workplace system, if you are an addict, you won’t block it on your own.
4.) Parental controls- If you are a parent and wish to restrict your child’s usage of social network or the computer in a broader sense, use the parental control option in windows vista, windows 7 and later versions of windows. This option allows you to restrict the time and days for which your child can use the computer and also the websites your child can visit. For users of windows xp and other operating systems, softwares serving the same purpose are freely available on the web. You won’t have to complain about your child’s addiction anymore.
5.) Take a break – Take a piece of pen and paper, write down the things you can do in your free time, except social networking. It can be writing an article, working out, reading a book etc. Next, delete all the web browsers, social applications and their setups from your computer and cell phones, USB drive for a week. Ask a person you trust to change the password of your social account. I do this for a month every year and always achieve the self-improvement objectives I set. This technique is very useful if you are keen on quitting social network for exams or an important project you wish to focus on. If you are highly addicted to social media try doing this for 2-3 days. See the results and then you’ll love taking a break as I do. Remember: Don’t tell the world that you are taking a brake if you seriously wish to achieve your goal or else you’ll end up checking how many people liked your decision on facebook.
6.) Sticky notes- Set up a wallpaper on your phone or PC which reminds you that you have to restrict your usage of social networking sites and applications. I placed a sticky note on my computer screen and wrote on the white board in my room in bold letters “I AM NOT A SOCIAL ADDICT” when I wanted to achieve this objective. Reason: “OUT OF SIGHT IS OUT OF MIND”.Obtain a printout of this piece of writing, read it, re-read it and tell me your progress.
After giving this free fund advice I would say one thing “YOUR PARENTS WILL NEVER BE PROUD IF YOU ARE ADDICTED TO SOMETHING- BE IT DRUGS OR SOCIAL NETWORK”