Want to end the dominance of social media in our life, start with turning off notifications

Notification invites a person to leave his work and look into the phone

If you have watched Netflix’s The Social Dilemma, you would know how social media is observing and influencing the behaviour of users. More often than not, whenever the notification sound of your phone rings, you tend to watch it, no matter the situation. There is this urge in us to know why our phone rang. Our mind starts looking for answers to – did someone liked my post (video, photo, any writing) or did someone comment on my post,. Whoever has commented, has he/she appreciated me or not, has someone responded to my message?

Once, we reach to phone to see the notification, we tend to look for more as social media is designed to hijack our attention. It kills our time and decreases productivity. Are we wrong to say that the first thing you do when you wake up is to check your phone to know what all has happened while you were sleeping? When you check your phone, a sea of notifications across multiple social media and messaging platforms awaits you. When you ignore the notifications, they multiply and scream for attention with moving banners and beeps.

Humans are made in a way that they seek appreciation from others. Isn’t it the reason, we post various things on social media? When hundreds of people are talking about you on your timeline, you tend to invest more on social media to get appreciation. Because notifications tell you about activity on your timeline, profile, you can’t stop yourself looking at the notification.


Read more: Does Social media want you to fall for doom scrolling?

social media

Social Media kills time

Dr Ajay Sharma, Consultant Clinical Psychologist who practices at Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences, said “Social media is designed to hack attention of users and entice them to spend as much time as possible. When one gets a notification, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter which makes us feel good. And because our brain craves for dopamine, we want to do it again and again. Unconsciously, we keep repeating the behaviours of checking our phone. For the first few days, it is okay but soon you want to know who engaged in your post or who has messaged you. Soon your focus will shift away from who and what is more important to the device buzzing at your side. You might think that you don’t want to spend more time, but 5 minutes quickly converts to 30 minutes, then an hour.”

If you think that notifications are only stealing time and attention from you, you are wrong. It is also increasing stress and anxiety. Don’t you feel like “he has got better hairstyle or she has a better collection of apparels, or that relative is on vacation in Thailand, we should go too?”

research suggests that more than 80 per cent of the smartphone users check their devices within 15 minutes of waking up every morning.  This is how much control these devices have on our life.


How turning off notification can change your life?

When you turn off the notification, you will wake up with a huge sense of relief. You will start your day peacefully and calmly instead of dreadfulness because you won’t be allowing external forces to dictate your world.

Turning off notification will bring back the complete ownership of your time. The phone won’t have stakes in your time. You will decide when you want to check and engage on social media rather than being in reactive mode all the time. Without the distraction of social media notifications, you will have more time for everything. Your work or study won’t hamper, as you won’t be looking at the phone whenever a notification beep rang. When you won’t be scrolling through notifications, you’ll have more time to do things which are more important.

Has it ever occurred to you that you are in deep conversation with someone and suddenly your phone dings and you are far too tempted to check it, even though you don’t check, you won’t pay attention in the conversation. Because you will probably be wondering who liked, who commented? So, turning off notification will keep you in the moment.

When there is a bombardment of notification, there is this feeling of responding to each and everyone right now. If somebody wants to reach you urgently and need a response, he/she will call you, after all, calling is not costly anymore.

In the final few seconds of Netflix’s The Social Dilemma, every guest on the documentary movie asked to turn off notifications to limit the use of social media.

The gist is that turning off notification will allow you to use the phone as a tool and not a remote-control, which controls what you are doing.

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