For a healthier 2024, try a social media detox

Denise Dador Image
Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Social media detox could help your health in 2024
Mounting evidence shows cutting back on social media could be healthy for you and your whole family.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Mounting evidence shows how cutting back on social media could be healthy for you and your whole family.

If you're tired of the same old New Year's resolutions like working out more or trying to lose weight, we've got another idea for you: Try a social media detox.

Do you compare your life to others online or can't stop scrolling even though it's no longer enjoyable? Maybe you're interacting more with people on social media than in real life?

Those are some of the signs that you or someone you love needs a digital timeout.

"Social media is a double-edged sword, it can make you feel very connected to the world around you and at the exact same time, it makes you feel very disconnected from yourself," said psychologist Susan Albers with Cleveland Clinic.

She said a social media detox doesn't mean completely giving it up.

Research finds spending 30 minutes on social media per day can help reduce anxiety, depression and loneliness.

However, anything longer could have the opposite effect, especially when algorithms are involved. It's sometimes called "doom scrolling."

"If you were in a down spot and you were looking at down information, they'll continue to feed you down information," said Dr. Branden Turner, a family medicine expert with Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills.

He added that more time spent on phones means more time sitting around.

"The rates of childhood obesity are increasing significantly. Some of that has to do with food intake, but some of that does have to do with decreased activity," he said.

For those who feel like they don't have the self-control, experts offer a couple of tips.

First, consider turning off all notifications on your phone so you're not getting constant alerts. Parents should monitor what kids and teens are viewing.

"Sometimes that's parental eyes. Sometimes that's using the technology to monitor itself. You know, put a 15-minute timer on your kid's phone if they do have access to Instagram or Youtube or Tiktok," Turner said.

You could also delete the apps completely to avoid any temptation.

Finally, try to find healthier ways to fill your time.

"The number one benefit of reducing your social media time is being more present. It helps you to be more fully engaged and improve the quality of your relationships," Albers said.

Making this a family New Year's resolution gets everyone on the same page. And the best part? You now have more time to spend together.