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In English – Limitless Social Media Program

Limitless Social Media Program
is a nationwide action that tackles
excessive use of social media in Finland.

  • We raise awareness about social media use and social media related problems
  • We develop low-threshold interventions for excessive social media users (18-29-year-olds)
  • We provide online support for social media users concerned about their own social media use behavior
  • We train professionals to become aware of problematic social media use behavior

Limitless Social Media Program is funded by the Funding Centre of Social Wellfare and Health Organizations (STEA), which operates under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland.

The program offers information about excessive, obsessive, compulsive or problematic use of social media – often referred as ‘social media addiction’. Limitless Social Media Program provides support for excessive social media use, information to people affected by heavy use of social media and professionals working together with young adults, who are often the most vulnerable when it comes to negative effects of social media.

The program coordinates low-threshold offline activities for young adults who are concerned about their online behaviour, provides an online self-help program, and organises a four-day digital detox retreat annually – all free-of-charge to the participants. Also, research-based and experience-based information about problematic social media use are provided by means of articles and reviews (i.e., scientific articles, stories by experts-by-experience) and training. Trained peer instructors are strongly involved in all program activities.

Our support and information to young adults and professionals is available nationwide – online and offline. We produce information about the problematic use of social media, both ourselves and in cooperation with other non-profits, universities and organizations.

Most of our activities are led by trained peer advisors. They work as volunteers, using their own experience of social media to support and help their peers. Our trained peer advisers and experts by experience organize different kind of volunteer activities for young adults that consider themselves heavy users of social media.

We organize lectures about excessive use of social media for professionals working with young adults. The tools we offer are meant for examining the use of social media, and help to identify challenges and find solutions. We also produce support materials for professionals working to address excessive use of social media. Our materials contain both practical tools and research-based information.

We have published a literature review “Social Media, Problematic Use of Social Media and Social Media Addiction”. The review discusses controlled and problematic use of social media and possible forms of treatment and support for social media addiction based on the international research literature. In addition, the review examines the causes and consequences of excessive social media use.

Excessive use of social media

Excessive, obsessive, compulsive or problematic use of social media is often referred as ‘social media addiction’. In academic publications social media addiction is defined as severe and excessive use of social media. Social media addiction is a behavioural addiction and in recent years it has been the subject of growing interest within the research community. It has been suggested that severe and excessive use of social media will create a new and independent category among behavioural addictions. Different forms of care and support will be needed In the future to help people identifying as social media addicts.

The use of social media can be viewed as a continuum: controlled use at one end and severely excessive use at the other, i.e., social media addiction. It is difficult to draw a clear line between controlled use, excessive use and addiction. Out of all social media users, it is estimated that

  • less than 80% (77-79%) use social media in a controlled manner
  • 17-22% use social media excessively
  • 2-5% could be considered to be addicted to social media.

Excessive use of social media is a widespread phenomenon that can appear and affect everyday situations in different ways as smartphone applications capture our attention. Excessive use of social media can cause

  • interruptions or delays in studies
  • loneliness and problems in relationships
  • sleep problems or poor quality of sleep
  • neck, shoulder or back problems
  • depression or anxiety
  • distorted body image
  • low self-esteem,
    and/or other problems that occur when one’s identity building takes place only online.

Have a question? Please, contact us!

Email us: firstname.lastname@sosped.fi

Terhi Mustonen
Head of Limitless Social Media
tel. +358 44 293 9497
Katja Mankinen
tel. +358 44 420 2968

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Sosped Foundation is peer support and communality