Every time think I’m not a normal person, because I stalk people on social media. I don’t want to hurt them or don’t write them messages at all. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m trying to stop doing this. The accounts I stalk are public and I didn’t follow them on Instagram, but I used to see all their stories (so that they knew that I was stalking) and they blocked me. I didn’t realise that I gave them unwanted attention. I don’t know how to describe what I am doing? Is it an obsessive disorder, OCD, stalking? I really make myself uncomfortable and want to be a normal person like others. Lily
Thank you for your question, Lily. Social media stalking is prevalent in modern society, with many people using social media platforms to keep track of friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. However, the exact extent of social media stalking is difficult to determine as it often goes unreported as people are embarrassed that they participate in this behaviour.
People check others’ profiles on social media for a variety of reasons, some of which include:
1. Curiosity: People may be curious about what others are doing and want to know more about their lives.
2. FOMO: Fear of missing out (FOMO) can drive people to check others’ profiles to see what they are missing.
3. Social comparison: Social media can lead to comparing oneself to others, causing people to check others’ profiles to gauge their own success or happiness.
4. Staying connected: Checking profiles can help people stay connected with friends and family and keep up with their lives.
5. Boredom: Social media can provide a source of entertainment and distraction, especially when people are feeling bored.
It is common and normal to check on friends and family on social media as a way of staying connected and updated on their lives. However, it is important to maintain boundaries and respect their privacy. If your checking behaviour becomes excessive or causes distress, it may be a sign of an unhealthy pattern and warrant seeking help. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to be mindful of how much time you spend on social media and to avoid letting it negatively impact your well-being.
To stop obsessively checking on people on social media, consider the following steps:
1. Set limits: Decide on a reasonable amount of time to spend on social media and stick to it.
2. Unfollow/mute: Unfollow or mute accounts or posts that trigger obsessive checking behaviour.
3. Focus on self-improvement: Engage in activities and hobbies that bring you joy and fulfillment, rather than relying on social media for entertainment.
4. Practice self-awareness: Try to understand why you feel the need to stalk people on social media and address any underlying issues.
5. Seek help: If you find that your social media use is causing significant distress or impacting other areas of your life, consider seeking support from a therapist or counsellor.
Remember that breaking habits takes time and effort, but with persistence, you can overcome excessive social media use.