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Day 8

Tips To Cure Your Instagram Addiction

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Instagram is one of the world’s most popular social networks, currently boasting over 1 billion monthly active users. Within the app, users share images and short videos with their followers. When posting, filters can be applied turning an average photo into a masterpiece.

Although over 100 million beautiful photos are shared daily Instagram leaves users with a bitter taste.

A 2017 study found Instagram to be the worst major social network for mental health and wellbeing. Researchers surveyed young people on their attitudes and experiences of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Instagram user’s complained of high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO.

After recognising user’s discontent spending so much time in the app, Instagram's creators added an interesting usage feature earlier this year. In an attempt to squash mindless scrolling as a result of feelings of FOMO, once a user has seen all recent posts from the last 48 hours a message is shown in their feed: “You’re All Caught Up”. Satisfying their need for more.

Instagram are also experimenting with a Usage Insight tool: a way for users to ensure their time spent on Instagram is “positive and intentional”.

Despite these additions, Instagram’s highly addictive nature means some users spend hours a day in the application. It’s reported that the average user spends 53 minutes a day in the app.

With this in mind, we’ve included a series of strategies to help reduce your time in the app.

Strategies

Activate ‘Use less data’

Videos on Instagram automatically start playing as users scroll through their feeds. Once a video has started, we feel compelled to keep watching. Many other services allow users to deactivate autoplaying videos, unfortunately Instagram doesn’t.

However, activating the ‘Use less data’ feature prevents videos being preloaded. Therefore videos will be a little slower to start giving you some time to scroll past, or consider your intentions.

To turn on ‘Use less data’...

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Tap the icon of the 3 lines at the top to expand the sidebar
  3. Tap ‘Settings’
  4. Tap ‘Mobile data use’
  5. Tap ‘Use less data’ to activate

Purge accounts you follow

It seems obvious to mention but the more accounts you follow, the more content will be in your feed and therefore the more time you’ll require to consume it all. Consider unfollowing people regularly.

Set a number of accounts you’re happy with following. Dunbar’s number of 150 people may be a good place to start.

[Dunbar] proposed that humans can comfortably maintain only 150 stable relationships. Dunbar explained it informally as "the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar".

Robin Dunbar

Turn off activity status

Within Instagram users send direct messages to one another. The activity status says if a user is online or when they were last active. Knowing a person is online encourages other users to wait for a response or encourages the user to make a response. Both lead to distraction and more time in app.

We recommend you turn this off.

To turn off activity status…

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Tap the icon of the 3 lines at the top to expand the sidebar
  3. Tap ‘Settings’
  4. Tap ‘Activity status’
  5. Tap ‘Show activity status’ to deactivate

Turn off notifications

Notifications distract you from the moment, capture your attention and lead you back into the app. Instagram aggressively uses push notifications, emails and SMS to grab your attention. We recommend you turn them all off.

To turn off push notifications…

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Tap the icon of the 3 lines at the top to expand the sidebar
  3. Tap ‘Settings’
  4. Tap ‘Push notifications’
  5. Tap ‘Off’ on each section in the list

To turn off email and SMS notifications…

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Tap the icon of the 3 lines at the top to expand the sidebar
  3. Tap ‘Settings’
  4. Tap ‘Email and SMS notifications’
  5. Tap each section to deactivate

We hope you find these tips useful for more pleasant Instagram experience, on your terms.

Author

Fraser Deans

Today's article was written by Fraser Deans. Fraser is a Digital Product Designer and founder of The Wholesome Technology Company, focused on practicing and spreading ideas for living well with technology.

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