The Social Media Detox
March 23, 2018
About a year ago, I made the life altering decision of deleting the beloved colorful icon entitled Instagram from my phone. It was something I had been considering for a long time while monitoring my mood throughout the day. Checking Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter was addictive. I did it subconsciously when unlocking my phone.
The more time I spent on these social networking sites, the higher my anxiety levels rose. I started to compare my life to the lives of my classmates, ignoring the fact that I only saw what they wanted me to see. A change had to be made.
After taking the first step to delete Instagram, I deleted Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. Abandoning 800 followers on certain networks was not easy at first. I often asked myself “What’s the point of taking pictures if I can’t post them and get likes?” However, after a couple of days, I felt free and weightless. I did not realize the burden that these applications had imposed on me.
I no longer posed for cliché pictures to liven up my Instagram feeds. I no longer felt forced to hang out with people that I did not connect with just so they could be on my Snapchat story. I could do whatever made me happiest without having to seek anyone else’s approval.
However, this was just my experience. Most people probably never consider deleting their prized social media, but here are three reasons why deleting all your social media even for a short period of time may be the best decision you could ever make.
In any given classroom, the sleep deprivation of students is obvious. They blame the piles of homework they receive, but according to a 2015 study by The Washington Post, teenagers spend on average one-third of their day on social networking sites. This is precious time that can be refocused on school work, sleep, or relaxation.
A universal pet peeve is attempting to converse with someone who is fully absorbed in their phone. Your obsession with your Instagram feed may be severely annoying your best friend, and you probably don’t even know that you are ignoring him or her. But other than mere annoyance, social media can obliterate relationships. Oh, someone un-followed you? Well, you obviously can never speak to them again. We live in a world where blocking someone on Facebook is the ultimate shun and declaration of hate. Furthermore, we are living a digital game of Telephone with all the gossip we consume online.
Why is our generation fixated on learning everything about someone else’s life when we cannot even examine our own? Research from the American Psychiatric Institute has linked the use of social media with depression and anxiety. Every time we open someone’s Snapchat Story, we are unconsciously comparing ourselves to them. We allow others define our lives by putting ourselves out there to seek approval. What needs to be learned is that worth is not measured in likes or followers.
Keeping these things in mind, I urge you to examine your relationship with your social media networks, and ask yourself if it’s positively contributing to your life in any way. If not, start small and delete one application, then try another. Analyze your moods again. More likely than not, you will notice increased happiness. Take the first step to a freer and cheerier you.