5 Ways to Cut Back on Social Media (2022)

"I can't believe how much time I waste on Facebook," a friend told me. "It's not like there's even anything good or interesting on there anymore. I really should just get rid of it." My friend isn't alone. Plenty of people feel they get little value out of social media, and yet they continue to use it more than they would like, often to the detriment of their productivity and their mental well-being.

Facebook isn't the only offender. People throw their hands up at Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and other apps and websites all the time. Still, not everyone wants to quit social media for good.

You could leave social media entirely in search of a more private life(Opens in a new window) or abstain for a year to minimize FOMO(Opens in a new window) and see whether and how you change as a result. Or you could take a more balanced approach and keep social media in your life but get better at managing how much time you spend on it. There are plenty of techniques and tools that help.

If you're not willing to quit cold turkey, you can limit the amount of time you spend on social media per day. For example: "I'll spend no more than 10 minutes per day on Instagram," or "I will spend no more than 15 minutes per day on all social media."

No matter how you implement it, this strategy is far from foolproof. When you limit your time rather than quit, there's no guarantee you won't break the rules you set for yourself. No matter what kind of obstacles you put in your way, you can always get around them.

Yes, there are workarounds, but that's missing the point. The point is to:

1) Decide in advance what kind of relationship you want to have with social media.

2) Put rules in place for yourself.

3) Create obstacles that give you pause before you deviate from your rules.

4) Stick to your intentions.

(Video) How to cut back on social media

Here are some of the tools and strategies that can help. Keep in mind that you can use them simultaneously.

You might feel like you're spending too much time on social media, but how much is too much? How much do you need to cut back? You can't know the answers until you measure what you're doing now.

RescueTime is an app for all major platforms that tracks the amount of time you spend on different sites and applications. It can also block sites that it thinks are most distracting to you (more on that in the next section). Apple limits how much it can track on its mobile devices, however, so you may need to use a separate tool for that.

iOS has a built-in tool called Screen Time that tracks how much time you spend on your iPhone, including the exact number of minutes in different apps. From your home screen, swipe right to find a summary. Tap the summary to dive deeper into it.

5 Ways to Cut Back on Social Media (2)

Google has a similar feature on some of its phones called Wellbeing(Opens in a new window). There are other third-party Android apps, too. PCMag hasn't reviewed any, but you can search for "phone usage tracker apps" and find one that works for you.

On desktops and laptops, one of the best tools you can use to limit your social media usage is a browser extension that blocks access to sites you choose. Some of them also track time on sites and apps, so those can do double duty.

RescueTime, which I mentioned above, has a feature for premium members that blocks distracting websites. It's called FocusTime, and it figures out which sites distract you based on your previous history. When you turn on FocusTime, it blocks all those sites for a period of time you set. You can override any site that the app has identified incorrectly. FocusTime also integrates with other apps such as Slack, where it can update your status automatically to let people know not to disturb you.

A few browser extensions offer the same temporary blocking function. One that I like is called StrictWorkflow(Opens in a new window) (free, Chrome). It blocks you from sites that you choose whenever you opt into a phase of focused work by clicking the icon in your browser bar.

5 Ways to Cut Back on Social Media (3)

(Video) HOW TO BREAK YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA HABIT! 10 Easy Ways to Cut Back & Stop Wasting Time on Social Media

StayFocusd(Opens in a new window) is another good one. It lets you block sites permanently or set daily time limits for different sites. It also lets you block specific subdomains, specific paths or pages, and even certain kinds of content on a domain, such as videos.

Another way to block websites is to do it through your home router. Typically, there is a section for domain filtering. If you block a main website, such as Facebook.com, no web browser on your network will be able to open any pages on Facebook.

3. Activate Time Limits in Facebook and Instagram Mobile Apps

Starting with iOS 12, you can set time limits for apps and groups of apps, such as social networking, games, and others. Go to Settings > Screen Time > App Limits and select the apps or groups of apps you want to include. Then, set a daily time limit. You can customize which days of the week it's applicable as well.

The mobile apps for Facebook and Instagram have a time-tracking function, too. This feature tracks how many minutes per day you use each of the apps and gives you a daily average. It also has an optional time limit you can set for how long you want to spend on the app per day. When you hit the limit, an in-app notification lets you know.


The setting is called Set Daily Reminder. On Instagram, it's under Settings > Your Activity > Set Daily Reminder. In Facebook, look for Your Time on Facebook in the Settings.

5 Ways to Cut Back on Social Media (5)

This setting doesn't block you from accessing the app or even log you out. It merely tells you when you've hit the limit and then quickly disappears. It does, however, make you acutely aware of how quickly a few minutes of social media surfing can turn into 30.

4. Observe a Digital Sabbath

Rather than limit your social media usage to a few minutes per day, why not try cutting it out completely for a set period each week? In other words, observe a digital sabbath.

Similar to a religious sabbath, a digital sabbath is a time period each week when you eliminate certain things to focus on others. For example, you could eliminate all social media or all internet usage, over the weekend to focus on family, relaxation, and so forth.

With a digital sabbath, you get to make up the rules. You could say, "No internet from Saturday until Sunday, except for video calls and GPS maps to get around." Or your rule might be, "No phones or laptops afternoon dinner and never in the bedroom." Make rules that not only work for you but also give you the desired outcome.

5. Disable Notifications

Not long ago I heard a stat that the majority of people who own a smartphone don't change the default notification settings. I was clutch-my-pearls shocked. Everyone should adjust at least some notifications, and if you're trying to manage your social media usage, you definitely should.

Certainly disable audio notifications for social media apps that are giving you trouble. Also disable badges and banners. The next time you log into the app or website, you'll see all your new notifications; you don't need to get them first on your phone and then a second time in the app. Once will do.

How Will You Use Your Newfound Time?

If you manage to cut back on time spent on social media, how will you use your newfound time? Be intentional about what you'd like to be doing instead, whether it's working with greater focus or relaxing without electronic devices. When you can name the thing you'd rather be doing, it can help you stick to your guns.

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(Video) Simple Ways To Cut Back On Social Media: Honest Talk About Instagram & Mom Mental Health


How do I cut back on Instagram? ›

3 Effective Strategies to Cut Back on Instagram Use
  1. Avoid posting — not even an innocent little “story” ...
  2. Unfollow people you can't stand. ...
  3. Turn off your phone for a whole day. ...
  4. 3 Tips For When You Face Moments Out Of Your Control.
25 Nov 2018

How do I stop letting me control social media? ›

Ways To Not Let Social Media Control Your Life
  1. Turn Off The Notifications. ...
  2. Delete The Apps That You Are Constantly Checking. ...
  3. Allot Yourself A Given Amount Of Time To Not Use It. ...
  4. Reward Yourself. ...
  5. Use Tools That Will Help You Stay Focus. ...
  6. Don't Use It When You First Wake Up Or Go To Bed.
6 Nov 2015

Why you should cut out social media? ›

“Quitting social media can also help you read emotions better,” Morin explains. “Many studies have found that social media interferes with our ability to pick up on social cues and subtle emotional expressions. Taking a break from social media allows those skills to return.” It can also aid with emotional regulation.

Why you should use less social media? ›

Studies show that people who spend a significant amount of time on social media experience increased anxiety and decreased self-esteem. Watching everybody else's milestones and achievements fly through your feed doesn't make you happy for your pals, it makes you unhappy about your own (seeming) lack of accomplishment.

How can I stay off social media for a week? ›

To help you maintain your break, turn off social media notifications or delete the apps entirely. Use the time you'd otherwise be on social media to read, exercise, and spend time with your friends and family.

How do you disappear on social media for a while? ›

If you are one of the few who want to go incognito, here is how you can do it.
  1. Deactivate Accounts. ...
  2. Search Yourself. ...
  3. Use False Information for Accounts You Cannot Delete. ...
  4. Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists. ...
  5. Remove Search Engine Results. ...
  6. Contact Webmasters. ...
  7. Be Prepared to Go Overboard. ...
  8. Phone Companies.
25 Apr 2014

How do I stop being addicted to Instagram? ›

There are five steps to overcome your Instagram addiction:
  1. Delay and schedule. ...
  2. Your self-worth doesn't depend on numbers on your Instagram. ...
  3. Turn off your Instagram notifications: ...
  4. Find happiness outside of your social media world : ...
  5. Stop reaching for your phone all the time: ...
  6. Limit your social media apps.
8 Sept 2020

How much time should I spend on social media? ›

Ideally, you should only spend 30 minutes on social media per day. According to the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, limiting your social media engagement to 30 minutes per day leads to better mental health and positively impacts your overall well-being.

What are Negative Impact of social media? ›

Social media harms

However, social media use can also negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people's lives and peer pressure. The risks might be related to how much social media teens use.

How can I not be influenced by media? ›

Five things you can do to reduce the effects of media on your life
  1. Consciously choose which media you will consume: ...
  2. Form your own opinion about issues you care about: ...
  3. Chew on it: ...
  4. Connect meaningfully with other humans: ...
  5. Avoid “ain't it awful” at all costs:
26 Feb 2016

How can we control society? ›

Formal Social Control
  1. Control through government. Punishment of crime. ...
  2. Control through religion. Diminished access to religious rituals or objects due to transgression of religious rules.
  3. Control through mass media. Societal shaming of those who are thought to be deviant in a negative way. ...
  4. Control through education.
25 Jan 2022

Does deleting social media make you happier? ›

Studies show that overuse of social networking sites can lead to negative feelings due to the constant overload of news and comparison against friends. Even temporarily quitting social media can lead to feeling happier, making more positive choices, and free up more time for productive activities.

Is no social media a red flag? ›

And, no matter the level or type of job you're seeking, having no social media presence is a red flag that can fast-track your resume to the “no” pile.

Does deleting social media improve mental health? ›

One of the best ways to help your mental health is to simply delete the apps. Just by not using Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook for a month you'll be happier, feel more present in life, and can gain up to 10 hours of time that you didn't have before.

What are 5 advantages of social media? ›

Here are five benefits of using social media:
  • Build relationships. Social media is not just about brands connecting with their customers. ...
  • Share your expertise. Social media gives you an opportunity to talk about what you know and what you want to be known for. ...
  • Increase your visibility. ...
  • Educate yourself. ...
  • Connect anytime.
22 Apr 2014

How long is a good social media detox? ›

A social media detox is a conscious elimination of social media use and consumption for a set period of time. Generally, most social media detoxes are 30 days, but some people do 7 days or even a year-long social media detox. Ideally, you're completely eliminating social media use and consumption.

Why detoxing from social media is good? ›

Stepping back from social media helps dial down anxiety and FOMO. It can also boost your mood, focus, and social connections. A social media cleanse can also lead to better sleep, less eyestrain, and even better posture. If you want to try a social media cleanse, know that you don't have to quit cold turkey.

Why is it so hard to stay off social media? ›

So, why is it so hard to quit? Our feelings about social media can span a range of emotions. Some may feel it is too political, too negative or too polarizing -- while at the same time see how well it allows for connection and access to information.

What happens to your brain after quitting social media? ›

You'll feel less stressed

This heightened stress can bring along a whole slew of unfavorable effects on the brain, such as reduced memory and an increased chance of depression. Staying away from social media makes you less prone to such a high level of cortisol, leaving you calmer and more focused.

What is the least toxic social media? ›

Social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat ranked lower on the toxicity scale, and YouTube had the lowest toxicity rating of the bunch, averaging 5.38.

What should I look for online instead of social media? ›

25 Websites Other Than Social Media To Upgrade Your Life
  • Coursera.
  • edX.
  • Khan Academy.
  • Udemy.
  • Quora.
  • Stack Overflow.
  • Codeacademy.
  • Tutorialspoint.

How do you keep yourself busy without a phone? ›

But staying in can be just as fun and productive as going out, with these tips to keep boredom at bay during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  1. Call your Family and friends. ...
  2. Clear out your wardrobe. ...
  3. Give yourself a manicure. ...
  4. Read a book. ...
  5. TV. ...
  6. Do a crossword/Sudoku. ...
  7. Make a photo album/back up your phone pictures. ...
  8. Plant some flowers.

How can I stop using my phone too much? ›

  1. Keep yourself on a schedule. ...
  2. Turn off as many push notifications as possible. ...
  3. Take distracting apps off your home screen. ...
  4. Kick your device out of bed. ...
  5. If you have a smart speaker, put it to use. ...
  6. Try turning on your phone's grayscale. ...
  7. Stay accountable.
10 Jan 2018

Why is IG so addictive? ›

It's not just about capturing the moment, Instagram is also a social network," Eyal says. "So now the internal triggers become boredom, seeking connection, FOMO [or fear of missing out]." And you'll never want to miss out again: "FOMO is huge reason to use Instagram," Eyal says.

How many hours is social media addiction? ›

Social Media Addiction Statistics and Facts

Teens addicted to social media can spend up to 9 hours a day on it. Teens who spend more than 5 hours a day on social platforms are twice more likely to suffer from depression.

What happens when you spend too much time on social media? ›

However, multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Social media may promote negative experiences such as: Inadequacy about your life or appearance.

How do you know if you're addicted to social media? ›

Signs that you may be addicted to social media include: Spending a large amount of time on social media. Thinking about social media often when you're not using it. Spending less time doing other activities, hobbies, or spending time with others in order to use social media.

What are 10 good things about social media? ›

The Positive Effects of Social Media
  • Building Relationships and Staying Connected. Social media can make it easy to find groups of like-minded people or make new friends. ...
  • Finding Your Voice. ...
  • Showing Empathy and Kindness. ...
  • Offering Support. ...
  • Better Communication. ...
  • Spreading News. ...
  • Building a Business. ...
  • Establishing Authority.
1 Nov 2021

What does social media do to your brain? ›

Social media is made to be addictive. Each like or positive comment presents a little hit of dopamine to our brain, thus creating reward pathways in the brain causing you to desire likes, retweets, etc.

How do you not let social media affect your self-esteem? ›

I've come up with five definitive ways you can stop comparing yourself to others and start embracing your life:
  1. Understand the reality of other people's lives. ...
  2. Stop wasting your energy and time on comparison. ...
  3. Stop bending the truth to others. ...
  4. Embrace your imperfections. ...
  5. Be happy with imperfection.
15 Nov 2013

How do you not let social media affect your mental health? ›

Protecting your mental wellness on social media
  • Take stock of how your feeds make you feel. ...
  • Understand what's happening in your brain. ...
  • Try not to compare. ...
  • Put some usage boundaries in place. ...
  • Get strict about curation. ...
  • Start over (or step away entirely)
2 Dec 2021

How do you not let social media affect your relationship? ›

4 Ways to Stop Social Media Ruining Your Relationship
  • #1 Agree the ground rules. The first, and perhaps most important tip we have to avoid social media ruining your relationship is to agree the ground rules. ...
  • #2 Treat social media like the public sphere. ...
  • #3 Allow each other privacy. ...
  • #4 Have a social media detox.
5 Mar 2021

What are the 4 types of social control? ›

Types of Social Control
  • Direct and Indirect Control. ...
  • Positive and Negative Means. ...
  • Social Control through Force and Symbol. ...
  • Conscious and Unconscious Control. ...
  • Formal and Informal Control. ...
  • Control by Constructive and Exploitative Means. ...
  • Real and Artificial Control.

What are the 3 types of social control? ›

Moreover, Nye specified three different types of control: direct control = punishments and rewards. indirect control = affectionate identification with non-criminals; and. internal control = conscience or sense of guilt.

What is the most effective form of social control? ›

The most effective form of social control is not laws, police, and jails. Rather, it is the internalization of the moral codes by the members of society.

How do I become more social? ›

10 Tips for Being More Social on Your Own Terms
  1. Check your motivation.
  2. Start a convo.
  3. Practice listening.
  4. Offer compliments.
  5. Volunteer.
  6. Be a host.
  7. Pick up the phone.
  8. Talk to strangers.
15 Jul 2019

How can I improve my social life? ›

6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Social Life
  1. Invite a co-worker out for lunch. If someone is new to your workplace, make them feel welcome by inviting them for lunch. ...
  2. Meet a friend for coffee. ...
  3. Host a dinner party. ...
  4. Join the club. ...
  5. Go solo. ...
  6. Turn off your computer.
18 Feb 2015

How can I go out more? ›

Get Out More: 6 Ways to Be More Social
  1. Join a club. No duh, right? ...
  2. Attend a Meetup. If a club sounds a little too… well, “clubby” for your tastes, maybe you'd be happier at a meetup. ...
  3. Take a class. ...
  4. Teach a class. ...
  5. Look up local bloggers or twitterers. ...
  6. Go to conferences.

How do introverts make friends? ›

Introverted, Seeking Friends? 10 Tips for Success
  1. Check your reasons.
  2. Quality over quantity.
  3. Embrace your interests.
  4. Try new things.
  5. Know your strengths.
  6. Pace yourself.
  7. Start small.
  8. Keep your identity.
11 Dec 2020

How do I act less awkward? ›

How to stop being awkward around people
  1. Read up on people skills. ...
  2. Practice reading social cues. ...
  3. Be sincerely positive to make it less awkward. ...
  4. Don't try to make people like you. ...
  5. Act as usual even if you blush, shake, or sweat. ...
  6. Change the way you talk to yourself. ...
  7. Ask for clarification when you don't understand.
22 Sept 2020

How can I get rid of social anxiety? ›

Lifestyle and home remedies
  1. Learn stress-reduction skills.
  2. Get physical exercise or be physically active on a regular basis.
  3. Get enough sleep.
  4. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
  5. Avoid alcohol.
  6. Limit or avoid caffeine.
  7. Participate in social situations by reaching out to people with whom you feel comfortable.
19 Jun 2021

How can I make and keep good friends? ›

How to Create and Maintain Strong Friendships: 6 Tips
  1. 1) Create and capitalize on time together. ...
  2. 2) Be honest with each other. ...
  3. 3) Show them that you care. ...
  4. 4) Embark on new experiences together. ...
  5. 5) Provide support and encouragement. ...
  6. 6) Treasure the little things.
5 Jan 2018

What causes social stress? ›

Social stress can arise from one's micro-environment (e.g., family ties) and macro-environment (e.g., hierarchical societal structure). Social stress is typically the most frequent type of stressor that people experience in their daily lives and affects people more intensely than other types of stressors.

How do you start to make friends? ›

How to Start a Friendship
  1. Start the conversation. When you're with someone you'd like to know better, start a conversation. ...
  2. Show interest. Even if you're just meeting someone, you can make them feel comfortable by asking the right questions and being a good listener. ...
  3. Smile. ...
  4. Share. ...
  5. Do a small favor. ...
  6. Keep it going.

Why do I not want to socialize anymore? ›

Anxiety is the number one reason why people hate socializing. It can create an unbearable experience. So the natural thing to do is to avoid situations that make us feel overwhelmed. *But, it's very normal to feel nervous in social situations.

How do you meet people alone? ›

  1. 7 Non-Awkward Places to Meet People While Traveling Alone. By Vedrana K. ...
  2. Hostels. Most of the people staying at a hostel are there to meet people, so go ahead and approach them. ...
  3. Sign up for organized activities or tours. ...
  4. Tinder or Bumble. ...
  5. EatWith. ...
  6. Couchsurfing or Airbnb. ...
  7. Attend local festivals. ...
  8. Introduce yourself to a stranger.
15 Mar 2016


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