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6 Signs You’re Addicted to Instagram

By: Kristen Clark

Do you love Instagram or other photo sharing apps? Are you addicted to them? Let’s find out! Insert your favorite photo sharing app in the context below and see how you measure you.

1. You check Instagram first thing in the morning.

You wake up from a good night’s sleep. Another great day. Before you even roll out of bed you glance over to your nightstand. There it is. You get your morning stretch in by reaching for your fully charged phone. Without even thinking you open up Instagram. You catch up on latest since you went to bed last night. You browse every photo until you’re completely caught up. Ahhhh Now you can start your day.

2. You browse the Instagram feed every moment you have “downtime” throughout your day.

About an hour after you wake up you feel another urge to check Instagram. I mean C’mon. It’s been 60 minutes…a lot has probably happened. You browse the photo feed every break you have throughout your day. You hate the feeling of missing out on something. Whether you’re in the car sitting at a stoplight, waiting in-between classes, walking into the grocery store, sitting at lunch, etc. you find yourself on Instagram.

3. You post multiple photos a day. Many of them selfies.

“What do you think of my new hairdo?” “Hitting up the gym!” “Starbucks stop…love my latte!” “Sad face because it’s Monday.” “Selfie Friday!” “Sassy face Saturday!” etc. etc. etc. Posting selfies throughout the day is a favorite pastime for most Instagram goers. Now there’s nothing wrong with posting a fun picture of yourself here and there…I’m talking about posting selfies on a regular basis. When your Instagram feed becomes a personal portfolio, that’s a sign you’re a bit obsessed (with yourself). You feel the need to let the world know everything about you and your day.

4. You upload a photo. Then you check your phone every 3 minutes to see how many “likes” you’re getting.

You snap that perfect selfie, choose the filter that makes your skin look flawless, add a catchy title, and hashtag some funny lines. Then you wait. Wait and check. Check and wait. The likes start coming in. A smile forms. Then someone popular likes your photo. You smile even bigger. You continue checking your phone every few minutes until your photo loses it’s steam. You take a mental note of your total “likes” and secretly hope to get more next time.

5. You purposely follow people or groups just to see if they’ll follow you back.

You don’t really know them. They don’t really know you. But you want to see what they’re up to. You want to know what goes on in their day. Are they cooler than you? Prettier? More popular. Better taglines? You want to know. But even more than that, you want to see if they’ll follow you back. If they do, you celebrate. One more follower to boost your numbers. If they don’t, you wonder why. You’re disappointed. Several days later you decide to unfollow them. You would never want the number of your followers to be less than the number you follow.

6. If you’re unable to access Instagram for a long period of time you feel totally “disconnected.”

You’re on a road trip and lose cell signal. You’re in a class and can’t use your phone. You accidentally leave your phone at home for an entire day. You’re on an airplane with zero internet access. You can’t access any of your social media sites. You feel a sense of loss…a sense of disconnection. What’s going on in the world while you’re away? You feel anxious about losing access to your apps. You count the minutes down until you will once again access Instagram.

How did you measure up?

How did you do against the 6 signs of Instagram addiction? Could you relate to some of them? If so, I’m sure you wondered how I read your mind. I read your mind because I read my mind. I use to struggle with most of those 6 signs.

Technology is a great tool, but can easily become a great trap if we’re not careful. What started out as a fun photo sharing program can easily turn into a major time waster and an avenue for prideful broadcasting. I’m not against Instagram (I have an account), it just needs to be used cautiously.

If you find yourself out of control with your favorite photo sharing app, I have two helpful tips for you. These tips are what helped me gain self-control with my apps.

1. Check your pride factor.

Instagram (and other photo sharing apps) is an extremely tempting platform for pride to flourish. Ask yourself the why questions. Why do you post so many selfies? Why do you crave more likes? Why do you envy people with more followers than you? For most of us it comes down to a pride issue. We’re looking to someone or something else for our identity. We unknowingly base our worth and value on how much our “friends” like us.

The best way to overcome these issues is to recognize our prideful heart and confess it to God. We will never feel totally secure and accepted until we focus on what God thinks of us more than what our friends think. We will never stop seeking praise and compliments from others until we embrace our worth and identity in Christ.

2. Set up boundaries.

If you want to lose weight, you go on a diet. If you want to get fit, you start exercising. If you want to pass a hard test, you study. If you want to keep Instagram in check, you set up boundaries. Time is precious. You only have so much time as a young woman. Don’t waste it! Don’t waste hours, and hours, and hours on photo sharing apps. I’ve been there and it’s not worth it. Nothing good comes from it.

The best way to keep your apps in check is to set up firm boundaries for yourself. My sister struggled with wasting too much time on Instagram, so she set up a strict personal boundaries. She committed to only getting on Instagram twice a day. That’s it. No more. Maybe less. It was haaaaard for her at first. But now it’s easy. She broke her bad habits and now uses her extra time for profitable, productive things. Set up boundaries for yourself.

What about you?

  • Do you find your identity and worth in what your online “friends” think of you?
  • Do you purposely post selfies to “feel good” about yourself and get attention?
  • How much time are you wasting on Instagram and other photo apps each day?
  • What kind of technology boundaries can you set up in your life?

I’d love to hear from you girl! Let’s chat about Instagram more. Share your thoughts, insights and questions in the comment section below!

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Violently Japy

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  • Natasha Oswald

    Apart from the ridiculous amount of selfies, this article is totally me! My new guideline for myself is to make sure the first thing I do when I wake up is pray and thank God for a new day 🙂

    • Sounds like a good plan Natasha! Getting focused on God before you do anything else is a great way to start your day!

  • Elizabeth Williams

    I don’t have Instagram, but I know what you’re talking about! It’s really like that with any social media. I’m not a big social media person, but i know so many people who are and who would absolutely die without their phone. I always wonder “What is it they’re so afraid they’re gonna miss out on??” I get on Facebook once a day, and I can tell you, that it’s OKAY, you’re not gonna miss out on something that can’t wait lol

    • Thanks for sharing Elizabeth! Social media is definitely one of the biggest distractions for young people today. It is beginning to replaced the “real” social world. If we’re going to use it, we have to be extra careful with it and guard our time when we do. It’s easy for any of us to waste 5 hours browsing photos and reading comments…without even realizing we’re doing it. We’ve gotta be on our game!

  • stevvie

    Don’t do Instagram or facebook and thats probably a very good thing for me.
    I would definitely be an addict!

    • Hey Stevvie…avoiding programs like Instagram and Facebook is a great option if you know it’s best for you! It definitely removes a lot of temptations. I got rid of my personal Facebook account several years ago because I was spending waaaay too much time on it. I have felt much freer since then. 🙂 -Kristen

  • Holly

    I don’t have Instagram either. Actually, I made the choice not to just because I know as soon as I would get an account, I’d be just as disconnected as everyone else. I just want to be there fully connected to people without having to check my phone. i know how it feels to take “back burner”, because Instagram is more important than listening to a person having a conversation with u. Therefore,, i don’t have one. I know that there are some people who don’t use it for wrong, but I know a Lot of people (especially girls) who use their instagram, Facebook, and twitter account as a tool to post themselves as the theme of their account. It’s frustrating because not a five minute period of time goes by without my own family having to pick up their phones and check if anybody special liked their selfie on Instagram. It’s ridiculous, especially when u r trying to have a conversation with them, and several times they’ll just pick up their phone, tune u out, and check their top priority…Instagram! It’s like what I had to say didn’t even matter. I would say, unfortunately that Instagram especially for my family is an addiction!:( I appreciate u writing this! I’m glad that I made the choice not to get Instagram.

    • Hey Holly! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. When we don’t keep our social media accounts in check, they can easily become more important than the real person sitting right in front of us. It can be really sad and frustrating when the person you’re talking to would rather be on their phone than chatting with you. Sadly, I can speak from experience on both sides. I been the rude person getting on my phone…and the person on the other side. With technology getting more advanced everyday, this is only going to get harder. I think the best way you can help this problem is to be a great example yourself. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Avoid social media programs that you know won’t be helpful to you personally. We can’t change others, we can only change ourselves. I encourage you to not get angry or look down on your family members…simply pray for them. Gentle confront them if you think that would help. But most of all, live your life in a way that will reflect the Christ-like character and actions you want to see in others.

  • Phoebe Saywell

    I totally agree, I’m not an instagram addict but pinterest and Facebook keep me glued to the internet, those boundaries sound really helpful, I’m going to try and keep in them! Thanks for posting! 😀

    • Hey Phoebe! I’m so glad you’re going to set up some boundaries! Setting up boundaries on our social media apps is a MUST in today’s crazy culture. I also encourage you to ask someone to hold you accountable to your boundaries. Thanks for sharing!

  • Quite Distinguished

    I know I’d be a full-fledged 6-point addict if I had Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook….so won’t sign up for any of them. (I did just get a Pinterest account,..but I can’t figure out how to use it yet–so I think I’m still safe for now.:D). I have actually chosen not to have any internet at my condo. (I can still get email on my phone, but that’s it) This means I have to go out of my way to the local coffee shop in order to get an internet connection….guaranteeing that I only spend a set amount of time online each week. If I want to waste that entire time watching You Tube….I can, but that’s all the time I get that week. It does sound rather extreme–I know! But I also know my heart would take the fullest reign with any time online, so I have to set tight boundaries.

    • Quite Distinguished

      I forgot to mention……there’s a really great documentary that addresses our culture’s addiction to tecnology and media (FB, video games, TV…etc) from a Biblical perspective. It’s called “Captivated: Finding Freedom in a Media Captive Culture.” It’s about 2-3 hours long, but it’s some of the best 2-3 hours you will spend in front of the TV screen. It has challenged and clarified my whole perspective on media. I wouldn’t say I’m heavily media-saturated…but this documentary was still convicting! HIGHLY recommended!!!

    • Hey! Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you have a pretty good plan for yourself. Sometimes limiting our internet access is the only way we can guarantee ourselves we wont spend too much time online. Way to go on sticking to your boundaries. Keep it up! And yes – I completely agree about the documentary “Captivated.” I have watched it and learned SO much from it. I recommend it to people as well. -Kristen

  • Rae

    I had Instagram and FaceBook. It took so much of my time away and left me feeling empty inside. It was such a distraction from God as i would spend my spare time with IG or FB instead of praying or reading my bible. I got rid of FB and decided to keep IG and set limits for myself. But since i love photography, it was hard to do and i kept failing. So i got rid of IG as well and have felt so much freedom. It is very strange how much headache technology can be sometimes. I feel more connected with the Lord and the real world i live in each day. 🙂 Sometimes the best thing to do is leave it all behind! 🙂 Thank you for encouraging girls to live a set apart life for Christ. Blessings!

    • Hey Rae! Sounds like you’ve been through quite the learning journey with your social media accounts. I applaud you for taking the drastic measures that you knew you needed to take. Way to be sensitive to God’s promptings in your life. I did the same thing several years ago with my personal Facebook account. I was spending waaaay too much time on it and becoming consumed with it. So, I felt convicted to get rid of it. I did, and haven’t looked back since then! I feel so much freer now. I might get it again at some point in the future (as long as I don’t revert back) but that all depends on my motivation for getting it and how much self-control I have over it. Thanks for sharing part of your personal journey with us! Keep striving to live for Him! 🙂 -Kristen

  • Heather Hemsley

    If I had Instagram, I probably would be a TOTAL addict!!! I did set a boundary for myself though (my mom helped), so that I wouldn’t have Instagram, Facebook, etc. It’s been great! But a year ago, I found this programming site that was really cool. My dad was teaching his students it at school, so I made an account. I started to get addicted, and every day I found myself walking towards the computer and looking up how many likes or follows I got. Pretty soon, I was a programaholic!!! My mom and dad started to notice, and when they alerted me, I suddenly felt aware of what I was doing. I wasn’t spending time with family, and all my extra time was on the computer. So… With a heartbreak… I quit my account. I thought I would be depressed, but actually, I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders! I had been enslaved to the computer for so long, and now I was free! 🙂 That was a year ago though, and instead of looking for what the world says is fun, I’m looking for what God wants to get done 🙂 God bless you Kristen!

  • Anna Unger

    Anna Unger


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