A social media expert reveals the signs that mean you could be addicted

Many apps are designed to get as much attention as possible. (PA)
Many apps are designed to get as much attention as possible. (PA) (imageBROKER/Christopher Tamcke, GmbH & Co. KG)

Spending too much time on social media apps has become 'the norm' for many people, but how do you know if you are heading towards the slippery slope of addiction?

Six out of 10 people worldwide now uses social media, and the average time spent on it has reached a staggering two hours and 24 minutes per day, according to Global Webindex.

Veronica Lin, head of brand and strategy at community-based social media app Playsee, told Yahoo News UK that the firm's research shows that 54% of British people feel social media projects a false sense of reality.

Lin said: "The apps should be used to foster connections and engage in real content, however, this has deviated off path into an online world of doom scrolling through curated content."

She said the warning signs that your social media use has become problematic tend to come from its impact on your everyday life.

Yahoo News UK explores Lin's advice on how to use social media in a healthy way and what to watch out for to avoid warping your reality.

Planning activities solely to put them on social media

Lin said: "Planning new and unexplored activities can be fun, but make sure you're doing them for the in-real-life enjoyment they give you, and not just to have new content to share on your profile.

"Do things if you have an interest in them – and, of course, share them on social media if you want to share your passions with your circle of friends."

Your online persona becomes 'false'

Do you have a different persona when online? (Getty)
Do you have a different persona when online? (Getty) (Westend61 via Getty Images)

Lin said: "As we’re now connected with thousands of people through our social media pages, at times it may feel like a more important representation of ourselves than our in-person real-life selves where we naturally have smaller social circles.

"Make sure you are reflecting your true self rather than the online persona you think you need to pretend to be. Start by cutting down on using filters which can become addictive, and aim for your posts to be off-the-cuff, organic imagery, rather than overly-edited content."

You lose interest in offline hobbies

Losing interest in offline hobbies and staying at home to use social media is a key warning sign, according to Lin.

She said: "Set goals to take time off to explore your hobbies at least twice a week. This is not only good for your physical health, but mentally allows you to disconnect from other daily stressors."

You respond to everything with memes

Replying to everything with memes rather than real emotional responses can indicate you have a problem, Lin warned.

She said: "Having the distinction between real life and your online presence is important. Plus, it can create barriers in real life if you're referencing something others haven't seen or don't have context for."

You never see your friends in real life

If you're connecting to friends more online than you are online, it's a clear warning sign.

Lin said: "In today's world, connecting with each other online is a constant. However, it is important to put some time apart to take those great online connections offline.

"Meet up with friends in real life or check out somewhere nearby at least once a week, and make sure you both don't spend the whole time on your phones."

Read more: How to erase everything Google and Facebook know about you