Gone are the days where we were worried about how one could get addicted to the newly invented form of entertainment and technology- ‘The Television’.
Today, we have newer and more prominent addictions to worry about in the field of entertainment and technology. On top of this list is YouTube.
YouTube is currently one of the world’s No.1 streaming websites and is available in almost all countries.
While it is the most famous and accessible video streaming site, it does come with its fair share of cons. On top of this list of cons, is the problem of addiction that comes along with YouTube.
Everyday YouTube users watch over 1 billion hours of content collectively. To put it into perspective, this converts to over one million years of life per day.
We can’t deny that YouTube has become an essential part of our life. From toddlers to people in old age homes, everyone resorts to YouTube for both information and technology.
YouTube has secured itself a place in our daily routine.
Which is not at all surprising.
Considering, how on YouTube you can learn new things, educate yourself, keep yourself entertained, plus be a part of a community and follow the lives of content creators whom you have grown to like over the years.
The Infamous Youtube Algorithm
Apart from the multitude of content that is available on this platform, another thing that works in its favour is its recommendation algorithm.
It never fails to display video content that catches your interest over and over again.
Youtube has figured out a way to provide personalized content to its billions of viewers every second of the day. It has done so by using a two-step deep learning model to recommend it’s videos. The image below explains how the Youtube algorithm works.
First, good video candidates are found and ranked in order. Generally, priority is given to larger and lengthier videos. These candidates are put into a list and assigned a score from which a regression algorithm chooses the highest ranked videos.
The videos with the highest probability of being chosen are the recommended ones. These are the videos you and I see in our “recommended” section.
The Addiction Problem
For something to classify as an addiction, there needs to be a few common symptoms that stand true for almost all addictions.
They are a nature of obsession, an inability to stop using, using the addiction as a coping mechanism, and negative health effects as a result of the addiction.
Content in video form can be addictive because it is informative and less time-consuming. New information is like a drug to the brain.
Our brain sees new information as a reward which in turn leads to a dopamine response. . Once while anticipating the rewards and once after consuming it.
YouTube perfectly fits all the required categories of an addiction. It has a lot of information and knows exactly how to present it to its viewers.
This is why “just one more video” is normally a bedtime routine for most of us. After a point, this habit can become extremely harmful and addictive. It tends to impact both productivity levels and sleeping patterns in general.
It can take away from other important tasks and lead to you wasting your time watching “How to style 1 dress in 6 different ways.”
Today, we live in a highly dynamic and competitive world. Spending more time on things than needed or necessary is not an option.
There is no denying that we deserve a break every once in a while.
But such breaks taken often, combined with the workings of the Youtube algorithm are known to create highly addictive reactions.
Although there is nothing wrong with having one or two guilty pleasures, But, it is important to ensure that these guilty pleasures are not excessively harming our lifestyle in any way.
That would be counterproductive.
How to deal with a Youtube addiction
1. Recognize that you have a problem
The first step to beating any addiction is recognising and accepting that you have a problem.
First, figure out what addiction looks like. Watching a few videos during your break at work does not constitute an addiction. However, it would be if this habit was negatively affecting your work.
A YouTube addiction commonly looks like a daily routine of sneaking in time to watch videos when it is very clear you’re not supposed to be watching them. If you’re addicted to content on youtube, you will continue to compulsively watch.
Even when you are not interested. In this process, you’ll even end up forgetting deadlines and other commitments.
If your daily life consists of you spending an unhealthy amount of time on YouTube, then recognize the problem. Accept that you have a problem and be ready to take the steps to deal with it.
2. Block YouTube (At least temporarily..)
The easiest and the most effective solution to this problem is to block Youtube. You can block both the website and the app on both your phone and computer.
There are tons of apps and extensions available on the internet that can help with this.
How to block Youtube on Chrome
- Open the Chrome web store on your laptop/desktop and search for “website blocker”.
- There are a lot of website blockers available on the market. Browse through and choose one based on your liking. Block site and BlockerX are two good ones we’d recommend.
- To install the blocker, all you need to do is click on the “Add to Chrome” button and pop up should appear. Click on “Add extension” and the extension will install on you computer.
- Once it is installed, the icon of the extension will be displayed on the top right corner of the Chrome page.
- Click on the extension icon to open up the page.
- Next in the appropriate space, copy and paste the Youtube URL and click Enter to have it blocked. It’s as easy as that!
How to block Youtube on Android
- On your smartphone, open the Google Play Store, and type “Website blocker”. There’ll be a large number of options available, choose any one of your liking. Simply click the ‘Install’ button to download the app on your phone.
- Once the app is downloaded, you can create an account using your details.
- Next, you can look through the list of apps available on your phone and click on the Youtube icon to have it blocked.
- To block the website, in the appropriate space, copy and paste the Youtube URL and click Enter to have it blocked. Done!
To learn more about website blockers and how to use them on different platforms, refer to this article.
3. Delete the App
On smartphones, we also have the luxury of choosing what apps we’d like to keep and what to delete.
If you believe just blocking the app won’t help you and you’re sure that you won’t need youtube for any other important work, you can simply delete it off your phone.
This way you no longer have to worry about giving in to your urges any time soon. If you’re worried you’ll just end up reinstalling the app, then we suggest you sign out of the app stores.
Remember, there is always a solution.
4. Pick a New Hobby
Find alternatives that can replace that “high” you feel when you watch Youtube.
There are a plethora of options for you to explore. Just ensure you end up picking a healthy alternative.
Fill your day with activities and tasks that you normally enjoy, at spaced-out intervals. This will help produce dopamine in your body throughout the day and reduce your association of it with hours of content on youtube.
5. Turn off your WiFi
In general limit your internet usage throughout the day. Use it only when necessary and don’t give in to your temptations.
But, more importantly, always switch off your WiFi before you get into bed.
Statistics show, around this time is when Youtube records its highest number of views.
To ensure that you don’t give in to your temptations and dive into the endless pit of videos on Youtube, switch off your WiFi connection before you hit the bed.
Always remember, you have the power to change your mental attitude, adjust your mindset, and create a better future.
The choice is yours.
We hope the tips mentioned above help you in building a better life, understanding the psychology behind your addiction, and finally overcoming the obsession that is holding you back from achieving greatness.