Expert gives tips on conquering your downward social media scroll

Jun 29, 2022, 5:00 PM | Updated: Jun 30, 2022, 10:23 am
FILE - This Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, file photo shows application icons from left, Facebook, Facebook...
FILE - This Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, file photo shows application icons from left, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Messenger Kids on an iPhone in New York, Messenger Facebook, in the aftermath of damning testimony that its platforms harm children, will be introducing several features including prompting teens to take a break using its photo sharing app Instagram, and “nudging" teens if they are repeatedly looking at the same content that's not conducive to their well-being. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
(AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The mindless social media scroll. We are all guilty of it. We check the latest updates on social media and the next thing you know an hour has disappeared. 

Jessica Holzbauer, a licensed clinical social worker and manager of Teenscope and Kidstar programs at Huntsman Mental Health Institute, joined the show to share how you can navigate a negative social-media world. She joins Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss.

You know you’re hooked on the social media scroll when…

“I’m literally a heartbeat away from falling asleep,” Dave said. “I pick up my phone for some reason, and it’s the day that Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. I kid you not for the next four hours I am scrolling through every social media in the world trying to find out more about this story, reading about reactions to it. (And) I couldn’t slow the scroll. I couldn’t stop it. I was absolutely hooked.”

Research has shown that those who used social media every day were almost three times as likely to suffer from depression among young adults.

Five questions to ask yourself if you think you might have a social media addiction:

  1. Are you spending longer than 30 minutes a day on social media?
  2. Do you check your phone immediately when you wake up and go to bed?
  3. Do you obsess over getting likes and comments?
  4. Have you spent a significant amount of time checking your feeds while at work or at school?
  5. Are you constantly picking up your phone to see the latest posts?

‘You’re battling your brain’

Holzbauer said that our smartphones are, by design, addictive.

“When I say addictive, I mean that we get a dopamine squirt in our brains when we pick up our phones, when we log on to social media, when we see smiling faces,” she said. “It’s not just a matter of will. Our brains are really primed to get that reward when we pick up our phones and look at the content, so you’re battling your brain.”

It’s like gambling, an expert explains

Holzbauer said Dave’s sitting up for hours reading about The Slap Heard Round the World is an example of intermittent reinforcement.

You are reading through links in your social-media scroll and every three articles are not interesting, but the fourth article is. It is what your brain is primed for through addiction.

Holzbauer explains:

“It’s the same thing that happens to people who play slot machines. You’re going to lose a lot, but then when you win, it feels that much better. So, it’s not just that the content you are consuming is so captivating. Your brain is waiting for that reward when you really get the information that you want” from your social-media scroll.

“Give us one or two simple things that Dave and I can start doing right now to slow the [social-media] scroll, Jessica,” Debbie asked.

Holzbauer recommends:

  1. Disable your notifications.

“So, you are deciding when to pick up your phone; your phone is not telling you when to pick it up.”

       2. Put your phone in black-and-white mode.

“You can do it in your controls. It makes it so much less interesting.”

        3. Limit time on app.

“It’s not just for children. It’s just not for adolescents. If you put time controls on, it’ll kick you off.”

         4. Delete the app.

“Even if it’s for a day, delete the app. You can always put it back. . .. If you really want to go bold, take an entire day off. Actually, turn your phone off — but that’s only for the bold and brave.”



Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Expert gives tips on conquering your downward social media scroll