Social media does not make you addicted, you do that yourself: ‘You are in control’


These are rare moments: someone looking out the window on a train or listening to your story with full attention.

Before you know it, we will be distracted by our mobile devices. The online platforms are addictive and influence the way we think, act and live, The Social Dilemma shows.

In the documentary, technical experts sound the alarm and warn about the impact that social networks have on our lives. But, you ask yourself: what can I do myself?

Back to the core

“Try to find your core interests again”, says psychologist Lidewy Hendriks. She is associated with MIND Korrelatie. “Ask yourself what drives you inside and write this down. Don’t get distracted by what society offers you. The next step is to tell others that you are doing this and find supporters who do the same.”

“Give yourself rewards if you can. They should be small and fast at first. Think about walking, swimming, buying a nice notebook or favorite cookbook. When you get the hang of it, you can give yourself bigger rewards. like a day at the sauna, “says Hendriks. A possible consequence is that you may not watch your favorite movie, for example.


Although social media is not all doom and gloom, Hendriks does not think the positive aspects are sufficient. “I see absolutely positive aspects and possibilities. The low threshold ensures that people who are socially awkward can practice very well. But there is too little control.”

This makes it full of destructive aspects, she explains. “We humans learn by copying, but on social media you get a lot of information mixed up: the good and the ‘rubbish’. The question is how you will recognize this.”

Follow your own compass

Parents can play a role in children and young adults. They can influence them by setting a good example and explaining their choice of activities. “Thoughts do a lot with how you feel. If children understand that better, they can then put into perspective what they see on social media. By talking about thought processes, you can offer a lot of help.”

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself: what do I want to learn? “Because come on, the information is, as it were, thrown over you,” says Hendriks. “Look for information in a targeted way and follow your own compass. And also ask yourself: does this information make me happy?”

‘Young people extremely sensitive to social environment’

It is mainly the young people who spend a lot of time on social media, but why? Regina van den Eijnden gives two reasons. She is a social scientist at Utrecht University and specializes in the social media use of young people.

  • “They have less control over their tendency to meet short-term goals. The brain is not fully developed until the age of 25; especially the part where control over behavior is exercised. This makes them more impulsive and more responsive to the (potentially rewarding) ) incentives passing by. “
  • “Another important reason is that young people, especially in the early years of puberty, are extremely sensitive to their social environment. It is during this period that they form their social identity. They acquire that identity through what others think of them. That is why they do so. are busy with social media. They want to know what others think of them. “

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