Do you feel like you’re constantly weighed down with bad news? Do you feel like social media is doing more harm than good? Do you feel like you’re borderline obsessed with spending time on social media?
Almost all of us use social media at some point in our lives; 72% of the American public uses social media regularly, according to a 2021 study from the Pew Research Center. However, casual social media use can quickly turn into an obsession or an addiction.
If you feel like you’re constantly scrolling on your phone, you may be “doom swiping” — spending hours and hours mindlessly on social media without even realizing it. Spending time on social media can easily cross the line from an intentional act to the doom swiping addiction that people often think of it as. As of 2021, it’s estimated that 210 million people are addicted to social media, according to a study from the Lanier Law Firm.
Doom swiping also comes with a long list of mental and physical side effects. Here are a few of those side effects and some things you can spend time doing instead of doom swiping.
What are some potential side effects of doom swiping?
- Depression and anxiety.
Social media is full of pride, lust and selfishness. Scroll on Instagram for a few minutes, and you’re likely to find people sharing photo after photo of their bodies or possessions. With all the available filters and photo editing apps, it’s easy for social media users to post pictures that aren’t representative of their real life.
You’re not alone if you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to people on social media. Since you’re constantly looking at other people’s lives, doom swiping can cause you to become more depressed and anxious over time.
- Distancing yourself from reality.
Social media can be highly addicting, but it’s not real life. One of the signs (and side effects) of doom swiping is being so caught up in social media that you start to distance yourself from reality.
This could look like a few different things. You might isolate yourself from friends or struggle to keep up at work. Or, you might find yourself desiring other people’s lives instead of your own.
What does the Bible say about addiction and obsession?
It’s incredibly easy for us to become so obsessed with social media that we feel constantly weighed down. A lot of content on social media is focused on negativity. When we continuously see that content, we often begin to struggle to find joy and hope.
At the end of the day, we’re called to do everything for the glory of God. First Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
We’re also called to put aside our selfish desires and spend our time wisely.
First John 2:15-16 (ESV) says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world.”
While social media can cause us to become more pessimistic in our daily lives, the Gospel offers us genuine joy and hope for our futures. We don’t have to compare ourselves or what we own to what others have because we know that Jesus Christ came and died for all of us.
Romans 5:8 (ESV) says, “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
How can we combat doom swiping and social media addiction?
Instead of spending time on social media, try getting involved in activities that are better for your mental and physical health. Take a walk on a nice day, get involved in a hobby that you enjoy, or just spend time with your close friends or family.
It’s easy for us to believe that social media is real life, but it’s not — it can be an addiction that can have dire negative consequences. Luckily, there’s a real, true hope for us that can also be found on our phones or nightstands — the hope that Jesus Christ gives us.