It’s hard these days to imagine a world without social media. From the early days of Friends Reunited and MySpace we’ve grown into a globally connected species on a seriously sophisticated level. Virtually anything’s possible at the touch of a button. In a world where astronauts can tweet from space and viral has the power to overturn regimes surely social media can’t put a foot wrong? Or can it?

The rise and rise of smartphone social media

These days 47% of people access social media from their mobiles – a figure that’s expected to increase by 2000% by the year 2017. Of those, 4 out of 10 use a social network application, with Facebook by far the most popular of the lot.

Smartphone Social Media

But there are downsides, and current research is showing that getting social on your phone could potentially be bad not just for your health and well-being but for your wallet as well.

A lifestyle choice or a life-destroying phenomenon?

As our infographic shows, constant access to social media on the go can potentially contribute to an already stressful 21st century lifestyle. 25% of users experience relationship problems because of fights on social media – whilst a staggering 66% of people have trouble sleeping after a social media session! Studies also show that turning off your mobile or steering clear of the internet can even induce withdrawal symptoms of the type an addict might experience.

Perhaps most worryingly, the evidence suggests that we can be reckless about our personal security when we network socially on our phones.  64% of us think nothing of accepting a friend request from a stranger and, astonishingly, every increase in mobile subscriptions of 1,000,000 generates a 19% rise in driving fatalities caused by mobile use behind the wheel.

Is social media costing you more than you think?

We tend to think of the internet as a free resource – but of course nothing’s further from the truth in our consumer based society. When you look at the real cost of using your favourite platforms on your phone it soon adds up. An hour a day on Facebook will cost you an average of just over £300 a year – whilst streaming just 10 minutes on YouTube a day could rack up a bill of around £290 a year!

Cost of Social Media

But if you’re worried about the negative effects of going mobile with your social platforms don’t panic. There are lots of simple strategies you can use to combat unwanted side effects and get back to doing what you love with peace of mind. They include actively managing your social time, getting clever about how you download apps and being in control of your privacy settings. Check out a more detailed guide to staying savvy in your social media use here.