Staying sane with social media | Inquirer Business

Staying sane with social media

/ 04:01 AM September 30, 2021

Ken, a college senior, says: “I watched ‘The Social Dilemma’ on Netflix after you talked to our school. It disturbed me so much that even with FOMO (fear of missing out), I finally decided to manage apps better. I was also bullied online, so I know how harmful social media can be. I hope to graduate next year, but right now, I am selling cakes online, so I cannot get away from Facebook. I am scared of getting addicted, so are there ways to preserve my sanity while still juggling school and business?”


Facebook is a godsend for entrepreneurs like you, so exercise control over it rather than the other way around. Check messages on your laptop or desktop twice or thrice a day, rather than responding to pings from your phone every few minutes. Update privacy apps to keep track of customers rather than news or feeds you don’t care for.


I am sorry to hear that you were bullied online, and I hope you received support in your recovery.

You don’t sound as if you are addicted, but ask yourself the following questions: Do you spend a lot of time thinking or planning to use social media? Do you feel the urge to indulge in it more and more? Do you use it to forget about personal problems? Have you tried reducing social media but without success? Do you become restless or troubled if you cannot use social media? Does it negatively impact your studies or your job?


If you said yes to more than three questions, you might be developing an addiction, so deal with it right away. Much like nicotine, drugs or gaming, social media can be addictive.

Like lab rats that keep pressing the lever to get a hit, humans keep on checking likes, statuses, tweets to increase the dopamine rush in the pleasure center of the brain. Before long, many are hooked.

In our book “Growing Up Wired,” several teens discussed ways to manage gadgets, so get a copy from Lazada or Anvil Publishing for doable strategies.

To save your sanity, prioritize app notifications that are necessary for school and business and switch off the rest.

Like you, contributor Jason Doplito decided to go on a digital detox after watching “The Social Dilemma,” and in October 2020, he shared his experience with Inquirer Lifestyle.

Doplito says: “I’ve muted all my chat threads except those exclusive to my family. It gives me a headache to think of the various messaging platforms that are on my phone, multiplied by threads of conversations that are in them, on top of direct messages from my social media. Instead, I set aside time to check and reply to messages. It follows that I cannot expect an immediate response from them. For school- and work-related communications, set ground rules by limiting them to designated hours. Resist the sense of urgency and learn to respect everyone’s work-life balance.

“For other apps, bank notifications are always on as well as those for e-commerce but only when I’m expecting a delivery. It’s important to strike a balance, especially for apps that need to alert you in case of a fraud or attempted hacking; otherwise, switching to an email alert may be a good compromise.


“Doing this might cost relationships, another social dilemma. Explain to friends why you’re ‘away’ without being sanctimonious. If we were not in a pandemic, this could be offset by going out for meals, coffee and drinks. Schedule phone calls and Zoom hangouts in the meantime, too.”

When you feel the urge to scroll through social media, call a friend or meet up with him or her. The quality of conversation and the boost this provides will be more than what Facebook or Twitter can ever bestow.

* * *

In this pandemic, many parents worry about children’s digital health. On October 9, 2021, join us in the webinar “Raising Independent, Resilient and Mentally Healthy Children in the Pandemic and Beyond: An in-depth talk on parenting, learning and growth.” Register at Anvil Publishing through

Queena N. Lee-Chua is with the board of directors of Ateneo’s Family Business Center. Get her book “All in the Family Business” via Lazada or the e-book version on Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBooks. Contact the author at [email protected]
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