How to Break Your Social Media Addiction


The famous management consultant, Peter Drucker, once said, “Tell me “what you value, and I might believe you, “but show me your calendar and “your bank statement, and I’ll show “you what you really value.” And it’s true. While I might say that I value truth, justice, and always eating my spinach, a detailed look into those two troves of information would yield
quite different answers. Digging into my bank statements
would reveal an enormous amount of money spent of coffee, and wooden gnomes from eBay, and a look at my calendar, not my Google calendar, but an actual real-time log of my life’s events, if such
a thing were possible to build, would shed
light upon way more time than I care to admit, spent
scrolling through Instagram, and Twitter, and other social media apps. And I would bet that if we were to look at your calendar, we would see something similar, if not worse. Comparisons aside, though, I think it is safe to say that most of us, myself included, spend more of our time and attention than we would like to on these apps, if we were to look at our lives from a more
rational birds-eye view. And that is why, today, I wanna give you some tips for breaking
your social media addiction. Whether you actually call it an addiction, or whether you’re in denial. Now, as astute and long-time viewers of this channel may know, I am a big fan of the author Kyle Newport, especially his book Deep Work, which actually has a chapter
called Quit Social Media. Given that fact, you may be surprised to know that I’m not gonna
recommend quitting social media in this video. At least, not right up front, and that’s because I’m an advocate of moderation, and I also recognize that social media can
bring a lot of benefits, but along with those
benefits come drawbacks, and as the ex-Facebook data scientist, Jeffrey Hammerbacher once said, “The best minds of my
generation are thinking “about how to make people click ads.” And of course, to make you click those ads, those minds also have to think about how to keep you on their platforms for
as long as possible, which means that, at the very least, these things are meticulously engineered to be huge time-sinks, but that isn’t the only criticism you can level against them. They also can make you
a less happy person, as repeated research has shown. When you’re spending a ton of
your time scrolling through these feeds of meticulously crafted posts that show the highlights
of people’s lives, including people that you probably know in real life, and you’re comparing them, sometimes subconsciously,
to your own life, the entire thing, warts and all, you can start to make comparisons that really put a damper
on your happiness. So the question is, how do you use these tools, and treat them like tools, to get their benefits, while
avoiding the drawbacks. Let’s start off with something that is very easy to do,
kill your notifications. Notifications are like that ringing bell that made Pavlov’s dogs salivate, only instead of giving you food, they deliver a quick dopamine rush in the form of a new comment, or DM, or post from someone else. Now, there is nothing wrong with checking these posts, or answering your DMs, but when you look at them in response to a notification, you
are establishing a habit, you are establishing a craving, and when those notifications come, in the future, you’re going to have fewer mental
defenses for avoiding them. And the problem, here, is that these notifications have no respect for your time, or the fact that you need long, uninterrupted periods of concentration to
actually get your work done. So go into your phone’s
notification settings, for each and every social media app that you have, and destroy
those notifications. Secondly, I’m going to suggest that you redesign your phone’s home screen to remove all social media apps from it, and this is something that
I actually did recently. You may have seen the video that I put out just a couple of months ago, on my iPhone home screen, but even that home screen layout
has now gone the way of the dodo, because it had
social media apps on there. I think Twitter was on there,
and Instagram was on there. And at the time, I kind of justified it, because, as a content creator, I use those platforms for my work. But I am also a consumer,
on those platforms, and more often than I liked, I found myself scrolling through them, wasting my time, so I just got them entirely off my home screen. I created an entire second page of apps on my phone, and I buried all those social media apps inside of folders. So if I wanna go to one,
I have to look for it. It’s a very intentional thing. Now, if you are on an iPhone, like me, there is one thing you have to do, beyond just shoving
those apps into folders, You have to actually turn
off Siri’s suggestions, as well, because, in my case, when I would swipe down to
search for a different app that wasn’t on my home screen, I would always see Instagram
and Twitter sitting there, which is basically the same thing as having them on the home screen. So if you are on an iPhone, you can go into the settings, you can
go into Siri app suggestions, and you can disable them
on an app-by-app basis. Now, to suggest another option that would actually negate the need to do all of that, what if you only used social media on your computer? The problem with social media apps on your phone, and one
of the biggest things we’re trying to get away from, here, is that they can become pervasive throughout your entire life, and that’s because your phone is in your pocket, or in your
purse, all day long, meaning you have constant,
easy access to these tools. But if you were to delete all these apps off of your phone, you’d still be able to use most of them on your computer, in a more deliberate manner. Maybe some of them are a little bit hard to access, like Snapchat. I’m not even sure if you can get to that on a computer, but most of them do have a desktop site, and in fact, my friend Martin even found a way to post his photos on his Instagram profile
using a desktop computer. So if you’re finding yourself mindlessly opening Twitter, or Snapchat, or Instagram, on your phone all the time, try deleting those apps from your phone, and just using them on
a computer, for awhile. See how that works out for you. Now, going back to that problem of social media becoming pervasive, throughout your entire
life, the next suggestion I have is to deliberately only use it at a specific time of the day. Treat social media like you treat Netflix, or video games, or anything else that you only do at
specific places and times, and if you wanted help enforcing this, you could use a Website
and app blocking tool, like Freedom, which is the one that I use, and this has been a very
helpful tool for me. I use it to block all sorts
of social media sites, things like Reddit and Hacker News, and all kinds of other places that I tend to waste time on, during my mornings, so that way, instead of procrastinating during those hours, I’m writing, or I’m reading, or I’m actually getting my work done. Now, so far, all we’ve talked
about is the binary choice of using these social media apps at specific times of the
day or not using them, but this next tip actually kind of gets into the middle ground, because social media tools and apps are actually collections of
many different features. Take Facebook, for example. Facebook has the news feed, but it also has the messenger tool, and it also has the events tool, and the groups tool, and some of those tools might actually be very useful to you, like messenger, or the groups, while others, like the news feed, may be completely valueless in your life. So instead of asking yourself, “Should I block it or should I use it?” what if you blocked certain features. And if you use a tool like Todobook, you can actually block the news feeds of most major social media platforms, and other Websites, like
Reddit and Hacker News, so you can only use the
more useful functions, and when you go to look at the news feed, you’re gonna see a to-do list, reminding you of things that you’re supposed to be doing, instead. Okay, so we’ve talked about all of the rational middle ground answers, and now we’re going to get to the question of, should you quit social media? Or should you at least stop using certain social media platforms in the way that you are
currently using them? So in his book, Deep Work, the author, Kyle Newport, talks about something called the
“any benefit approach”, which is something that people use to justify using social media tools. They basically say, if there’s any benefit that I can get out of
this, that might improve my life, no matter how
small of an improvement it may make, I am justified in using it. And, as he writes in the book, “The problem with this approach, “of course, is that it
ignores all the negatives “that come along with
the tools in question. “These services are engineered “to be addictive, robbing time “and attention from activities
that more directly support “your professional and personal goals.” So if those goals are a priority for you, then you should seriously ask yourself, “Do I need all
the social media accounts “that I currently have?” And you can also get more
granular than that, as well, such as asking, “Do I need this
particular app on my phone?” For example, I don’t
keep the Pinterest app on my phone, because I find that it’s just a time-waster, there, but I haven’t deleted my account entirely, because I do find it to
be a useful repository of design, inspiration, and ideas, that I can go look at, when I wanna, say, redesign my Website. But, on the other hand, I found, recently, that Snapchat offered me no value, whatsoever,
so I actually went in and deleted my account, there. And that brings me to my final tip, here, which is for people who feel that they are truly addicted
to the social media platforms. If of all the other tips in
this video haven’t helped you so far, if you just
can’t resist opening these apps and wasting your time on them, then try a 30 day serious
social media detox. Get completely away from all of it. And the first step to doing
that would be deleting those social media apps off of your phone, blocking the Websites on your computer, making it generally as difficult
as possible to access them. Keep in mind that your ability to maintain self-discipline
is highly influenced by your environment, so just like somebody who’s on a diet and trying to avoid junk food needs to
get all the junk food out of their house, you need to get all of the access to social media out of your immediate vicinity. And then, once that 30
days is up, you can start to slowly reintroduce these tools back into your life, and see if you can use them in a way that does benefit you, but doesn’t cause you
to waste too much time. And then, once you’ve gained back that time that you were
previously wasting, scrolling through your
Facebook and Instagram feeds, you may want to dedicate some of it to improving your creative
problem solving skills, as well as your skills in the fields of math, science, and computer science. And if that’s something that you do want to do, you should check out Brilliant. Brilliant is a math and
science enrichment tool that takes an incredibly
active approach to learning. So when you go into their courses, you’re going to be immediately thrown into challenging problems that force you to really work to find the solutions, and in addition to being
a very effective way to learn these subjects, this approach also makes you a universally
better problem solver, because you have to apply effort and creativity, rather than just passively intaking the material, like you would in a lecture-style class. Within Brilliant’s library,
you’re gonna find courses on calculus, on math for
quantitative finance, on probability, on science topics, like gravitational physics,
and computer science topics, like algorithms and machine learning. In addition, you’re also going to find an incredibly detailed wiki that covers problems from all across their courses, so when you get stuck on something tough, you can go do some in-depth learning there, and there’s also an awesome community area, where people from around the world are constantly helping each other out, and challenging each other. So if you wanna start learning for free, today, then head on over to, which you’ll find in the description down below. And if you’re one of the first 83 people to sign up with that link, you’re also gonna get 20% off your
annual premium subscription. I wanna give a big thanks to Brilliant for sponsoring this video,
and being a huge supporter of this channel, and, as always, guys, thank you so much for watching. If you enjoyed this video,
hit that like button, to support this channel, and you can also subscribe right there, to get new videos every single week. You can also click right over here to get a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades,
find one more video on this channel right over here, or follow me on Instagram,
over @TomFrankly. Thanks for watching, and I
will see you in the next one.


100 Responses

  1. Mikaila Darling

    December 3, 2018 4:44 am

    The reality is, none of us need social media at all. I was a bad social media addict. I mean spending hours upon hours on Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok. I would try the methods said in this video but they never worked. I got so bad I would argue with people over nothing, putting me in a bad mood, ultimately effecting my real life. I would try deleting the apps from my phone but after a week or so I was right back onto them. It wasn't until I traded my smart phone for a flip phone for a few months that I finally broke free. Now all I use is this and it's not an addiction, YouTube never really was for me. But once I broke the habit (it takes at least 21 days to break a habit) of being on my phone all the time by not using a smartphone, I started to really enjoy life again. I now can go hours without looking at my phone and be perfectly fine. The anxiety and stress I had that was associated to social media (which was suprisingly most of my anxiety) went away. My self confidence went up (due to the fact that I'm no longer comparing myself to others anymore). It's now been about 3 months that I've been away and I feel so liberated. I would be lying if I said I don't still have "cravings", but when I do I remind myself the hell that social media put me through and do something else to get my mind off of it and it works 🙂

  2. lookmee mora

    December 4, 2018 4:14 pm

    When you said kill your notification, i was going to press the notification of your channel. Now i don't lol

  3. Aashwin Sharma

    December 21, 2018 5:30 pm

    Shutted off all my notifications ..and it was a great help ✔️
    But whenever i don't use social media i find myself on youtube ..

  4. I have no memes

    December 28, 2018 2:22 am

    Help I'm 14 and I can't stop using Snapchat or Instagram. I still want to have them to let people text me if it's important but I don't want to use it as much as I do usually..which is alot. Please help💔

  5. Gehaad alaa

    December 31, 2018 7:07 am

    seriously youtube (on laptop) is causing me to fail;
    i need it for educational videos, but i also find myself watching weird things that i know i would never benefit from and dammit they are 20+ mins!!

  6. MARS muhilan

    January 5, 2019 2:47 am

    At 1:20 i was waiting for him to say the truth "if u quit social media then i don't get enough views!!" 😂😂

  7. mr nippy nelson

    January 6, 2019 1:51 am

    I only film and produce quality cat videos. Best decision I've made. Watch GRUMPIER BELLY CAT

  8. FueledByKass

    January 7, 2019 4:54 pm

    Social media, and especially facebook caused my anxiety and insecurities to skyrocket. It got to the point where it helped ruin one of the best friendships I've ever had. I was so upset that because of social media I was very unhappy and decided to quit. I quit only two weeks ago, and at first it was extremely boring for me. I think it made me realize how much time I was spending on facebook doing nothing. I also found it hard to not not being able to make posts or share pictures etc, and I that made me realize that there's no need for me to share my personal life (whether sad or happy) with anyone else except the people I truly care about. Leaving facebook has made me feel free, and I have been feeling happier. I've gotten into the habit of reading again, I'm on my second book and its been a couple of days since the new year. I definitely recommend quitting social media to those who feel constant anxiety and pressure to impress others.

  9. midsouth

    January 23, 2019 5:36 pm

    How to Break Your Social Media Addiction . stop watching video after looking in the description and seeing links to his social pages , done!!

  10. niharika pihu

    January 27, 2019 7:41 pm

    I am using these tips already. You can also reward yourself by putting insta or youtube or facebook as conditional reward after you completed your pending work done.

  11. aquamarine ancient soul

    February 14, 2019 8:27 am

    The worst thing about social media for me is having my attention dragged to america's problems about whatever(lgbt, equality, hollywood,….) and i dont even live in america!!! And i also have 4 months to get prepared for konkoor and this devided attention thing is ruining my life. Ur videos are helpful tho.

  12. Ari Wilson

    February 20, 2019 1:54 am

    Facebook I've realized that once I deactivate my social media account. I feel so much better & doesn't check on Facebook that much. That way I've been thinking to delete the whole Facebook.

  13. Wish Recto

    February 21, 2019 7:06 pm

    I had to search for this video because I've been wanting to avoid social media as much as possible. Well, I only have Facebook. I deleted the app and messenger on my phone. I just log on my laptop if I need to check messages. I'm able to focus more on myself. When your're on social media, you find yourself insecure because you compare yourself with others even if you're actually doing great.

  14. TechRunner

    February 26, 2019 10:51 pm

    I do find it funny because I have the opposite effect with notifications they frustrate me in ways that only notifications can. Even notifications from loved ones are annoying to me and I would much rather have the ability of telepathy than to look at another notification drop down my screen.

  15. zazzion

    February 27, 2019 6:14 pm

    You are talking about not wasting time , but still you deliberately drag this video out to cover more than 10 minutes to waste our time and turn it into revenue. Wow man..

  16. Indi Christiansen

    March 8, 2019 11:05 pm

    I’m a fan of cal Newport too. Read three of his books, and I get something new each time I read them.

  17. Sortlist

    March 11, 2019 5:57 pm

    Awesome video! Many thanks!😀 We also publish videos about social media! Could you give me some feedback? Thank you! 😀 Don't forget to subscribe if you like it!!😀


  18. Stu

    March 14, 2019 12:01 pm

    Like anything, it’s all about balance. Yes, it’s okay to own an iPhone, it’s an extremely useful tool that can be used to access the all of human knowledge in an instant. Quantum mechanics? Boiling an egg? You got it. Share your child’s first steps with his Grandma who is sat on the other side of the planet in real time. Listen to podcasts that provoke and tickle the mind. Create Artwork. Track your bank spending. Obtain health services. Get photos printed and sent via post to create memories in your home. Order your groceries. Meditate using guided meditation. Listen to music. Learn a new language. Get job offers. Connect with groups in Reddit, find out more about coffee making or sailing a boat. I will continue to use this fabulous device for all of these things.

    Delete Instagram, Facebook, snapchat etc from your smartphone. These apps primarily serve the person doing the posting. Stop charging your phone by your bed. Read a magazine or book on the toilet. Don’t use it in the home when family are present. Be present with your children. Buy an alarm clock and read a book before sleeping. Start meditating. Go running on your lunch break or go for a walk. Start doing yoga. Stretch.

    I believe that smart devices are here to stay and will bring much ease and comfort to society but exercise with caution. No need for all this scaremongering. Let’s all just be sensible and get off Facebook and spend time with our families and being present in the moment.

  19. petrol devo

    March 16, 2019 8:55 am

    Social media is for losers that need to get out and get a life. jmo… social media should be used in moderation. Not used as a life choice and the only way to meet people, argue, share etc. Just get out and meet people in person. That's when you are yourself without hiding behind your device.

  20. SNSDCrown OnYourHead

    March 18, 2019 10:38 pm

    I was addicted to Facebook and I deleted my account
    I felt empty and I started to be addicted to Twitter then suddenly I found myself on YouTube more
    And now Instagram 🤦

  21. Rachel Lee

    March 23, 2019 7:07 am

    Friends among other people are the worst thing that has ever happened to me! And that is saying too much. 24 and dying again and again and again and again!!!!!! I cannot tell when I ate. These people are totally too much!!!

  22. rounddancefan1

    March 24, 2019 6:52 am

    I started this 30-day and not use any of my social media accounts, but youtube I can't because I need it for educational and learning stuff.

  23. Skyicee

    April 1, 2019 3:56 am

    I already got rid of my social media notifications , no one ever tries to talk to me , so there’s no point .

  24. Haifax Malik

    April 3, 2019 7:11 pm

    When i was about to quit i had to have a look at your twitter page and…. here i go again.

  25. Jeff waifei

    April 12, 2019 11:03 pm

    My biggest problem is i can't quit youtube. I love listening to music but i ended up watching youtubers and other entertainment.

  26. Tiffany Ray

    April 17, 2019 6:23 am

    i wouldn't consider youtube a social media platform but more of a video viewing platform cause thats what it is however i have a short attention span and whenever i feel the slightest bit bored I will turn to apps for entertainment the only problem is that you get nothing from looking at a phone screen all day, its pointless to invest and spend time on something to which theres no value in it.

  27. David Gray

    April 28, 2019 9:48 pm

    I use social media for film making, watching tutorials, talking to parents. thats it. I couldn't careless about someone eating soup at a restaurant.

  28. Shekinah Anderson

    April 28, 2019 11:21 pm

    “Hope this helps! Click like, subscribe, follow me on Instagram” 🤔 doesn’t that defeat the purpose of breaking the addiction of social media? Lol not trolling at all, just a real question

  29. Ann Doherty

    May 24, 2019 12:18 am

    I am addicted to Facebook how do I quit Instagram SnapchatI and FB deactivate my page I put it back up again it's like an addiction of nicotine but I can't get free 😓

  30. Pritthijit Datta

    May 25, 2019 10:18 am

    I love life much better in previous decades. Too much social media is making people distance from reality. Quality of human interactions is affected. In the 80s and 90s it was much better. No distractions in technology

  31. Jessica Blake

    May 31, 2019 12:07 am

    My addiction is bad smh I became addicted to the phone ever since I started catfishing its been a very bad habit I was too idle . I use to go on skout to do this which I deleted . I go on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat a lot it drives me nuts that I can’t let go all I’m doing is watching other people a lot of these ppl I don’t even know . I wasted part of my life with social media and catfishing

  32. UniqueBeautie

    June 5, 2019 3:59 am

    YouTube and Instagram are my drugs. 😫😫😫😭😭😭😭😓🙏🙏🙏🙏

  33. mopthermopther

    June 9, 2019 4:54 pm

    And it hurts productivity. 20 times a day the boss has to tell people, Please put your phone down. At first it was just the young kids, now even the older employees are doing it.

  34. kiran Sharma

    June 9, 2019 6:05 pm

    is pornhub a social media or not I am highly addicted to it. so should I block the news of it, wait! there is no newsfeed

  35. kiran Sharma

    June 9, 2019 6:08 pm

    today I just resist myself to using Facebook anyway. the plans for tomorrow is the same, in this way I will continue this for 21 days.

  36. tuffguy doe

    June 12, 2019 4:58 pm

    More people are catching onto this cause there's facebook commercials on tv wanting people to join

  37. Made on Venus

    June 27, 2019 6:31 am

    i only use instagram but i still feel like i'm using it too much.. my instagram is @selva.gina btw 😜

  38. adu1991

    June 27, 2019 5:21 pm

    Honestly consider if you truly hang out with those friends/celebrities that you follow on Twitter and Facebook, vs the ones who you actually see in real life. Some people think that the digital world is a complete reflection of reality, and that's not always true. Social media, although it does have its benefits, is just one part of my life. It's not taking over my life 🙂

  39. Unusual Questions

    June 28, 2019 10:04 pm

    Informative video, Thomas. I made a video about breaking addiction as well using another method

  40. Vitae Mega

    July 24, 2019 2:52 pm

    1. Kill the notification
    2. Re-design your home phone screen
    3. Use your social media in your computer
    4. Limit social media to a specific time a day
    5. Ask "do i need to quit social media"
    6. Try 30 days no social media detox

    I think that's all, sorry if i miss something well you guys can add it by replying my comment 🙂
    Have a nice day y'all

  41. Lure Art

    July 26, 2019 8:07 pm

    Actually i am improving in fighting cellphone addiction…
    Coz my phone is broken and in a really bad condition….. so only light YouTube…

  42. VCR Time Machine

    July 31, 2019 12:11 pm

    I am big on moderation too, but social media is like cocaine. Even a little bit is a problem.

  43. Rosétta Rosé

    August 9, 2019 5:07 am

    If you actually look up for once and look around everyone's on their electronics. It's sad.

  44. zrcjin

    September 1, 2019 8:00 am

    I deactivated and deleted my Facebook and Instagram and turned off my phone notifications. I don't see value in using them anymore and I feel better. But my problem is twitter, messenger, and YouTube. I find value in them. I use twitter to interact with the fandom I'm in, messenger to contact friends and family, and YouTube to entertain myself. However, even though I have push notifications off, I still find myself going to these apps everytime to see if I have notifications and I fear missing out on new content and tweets. Now I'm realizing I'm addicted to social media. It impedes me from doing work and from preparing for my licensure exam that I'll be having at the end of this month. I'll try doing a social media detox and increase friction in using these apps this month just to see how it goes. Just thinking about not using twitter and YouTube kills me tho :(( I think I really am addicted


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