I know you guys are tired of hearing it, because I sure am.
"Put your phone down"
"You're always on your phone"
It gets repetitive when every person older than you seems to always have something to say about "that social media". Nothing makes me roll my eyes further back. Social media undoubtedly is an addictive tool, but some people of this generation see it as that, and only that. Like I said, "tool".
I would describe social media as a tool, because it is an application that is used for entertainment or educational purposes (yes, social media doesn't only consist of Instagram models and body builders). I learn quite a lot scrolling on Instagram. I can learn how to cook certain meals, how to do my makeup… I can even watch a doctor (because it's educational) pop pimples for people. Being in an era where we can have anything at the light touch of a phone screen, is amazing. I think people need to stop looking at social media and technology as such a toxic thing. Social media and advances in technology are not what make this world corrupt, I can promise you that. Fortunately, thanks to social media, we can connect with family and friends, even when they are continents away. People have built full-fledged careers simply from Instagram or YouTube. We exist in such an amazing century where you can live comfortably without a car in some cities. Need food? Get it delivered. Need a ride? Get an Uber or Lyft.
There's pros and cons to everything, but social media slander needs to end.
However, I have been on both ends of the spectrum. There was a time when I was definitely addicted and obsessed with social media. I was constantly posting, thinking of posts, and looking at other's posts. There was one day when I even went as far as posting two pictures in a day. After posting the second picture I sat there for a minute and realized what was happening to me. I'm staring at my phone screen, constantly refreshing the page, waiting for the likes to roll in (if this sounds like you, it surely wouldn't be the worst idea to take a break, I promise!). I sat there and had a moment of self-reflection. Before you know it, I decided to stop using social media for a few months. It was hard to not pick up my phone and scroll every five seconds, but it also opened my eyes to a lot.
I started to appreciate nature more, especially now because I was actually getting a good look at it. I'm one of those people that walks staring at my phone, or I'll look at my phone sometimes to avoid conversations I don't want to possibly engage in (come on, I know we've all done it). I've found that there are much more interesting things to look at in the world, rather than an LED screen. I love social media, don't get me wrong, but I do think it is important to take time to submerge yourself in your surroundings, symbolically and literally. Look at the world around you, pay more attention to people when they're speaking, have some quiet time for yourself, and let your brain wander.
And I know everyone's tired of hearing, "be more present", but it's true! You'll be shocked at how much more you can see and observe once you're fully invested, and not worrying about your phone.
I started to look at my screen time daily, and that's when I discovered how much time of my days I was wasting on my phone. There are only 24 hours in a day, but we also have to consider sleeping at night. So now there are around 18 hours you have left, presuming you got at least 6 hours of sleep.
What do you do in those 18 hours? Eat, go to class or work, extracurriculars, hang out with friends, or study? Everyone's day is different, but the point is to take ADVANTAGE of those hours. Every day is not promised, and once you stop spending so much time on your phone, you realize how much more time in the day you have. I once looked at my screen time and it showed that I used my phone for a total of 10 hours in one day. ONE DAY! I only had 12 hours of productive activity during a whole 24-hour day. I was appalled. Since then (because I am now scarred), I look at my screen time every day and try to keep it as low as I can. My average is around 5-6 hours a day, which I still think is a lot, but improvement is key. When I avoided using social media for a few months, my screen time was down in the 2-3-hour range, which I was extremely proud of (thank you very much, no paparazzi please).
As millennials I think it is important that we accept social media for what it is and appreciate it, as well as restrain from it at times and actually LIVE our lives. There's so much more to see, do, and learn, and it's even better when you're able to experience these things in person, rather than from a handheld device.
Use social media as a tool, don't let it use you. Try meeting people organically, rather than from a dating app. Go out to eat instead getting your food delivered. Don't shop online, go to the mall! These are just little tips that can help you refrain from staring at your phone so much.
Sometimes it's good to go back to basics. Trust me, you won't regret it.