Like any other college student, and even human being nowadays, I use my phone quite a bit. By that, I mean all the time.
I use it for anything and everything but one of the biggest things I use my phone for is social media. It's almost second nature now to whip out your phone and scroll endlessly when you're bored. Not only does social media keep you entertained but there is also a pressure of not missing out on what everybody is up to. Lately, I had noticed that being online was just taking way too much time out of my life. So I decided to challenge myself and not log into social media for a week. I wanted to see what changes this caused and how it affected my life in general.
I know social media is a loose term and people define it as they wish but for me, it meant no Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or Snapchat for a week. FYI, these four apps, are the ones I log onto the most to keep me entertained and let me tell you, it was an interesting week.
Day 1 & 2
In order to make this challenge work, I didn't delete the apps or log out of my accounts, I just relied on self-control to not click on them. I don't receive notifications for any of the apps except facebook, which has accumulated quite a few notifications. Seriously, it's insane how second nature it is for my thumb to just press those very familiar icons. Anytime I was waiting in line or just bored I'd unlock my phone and automatically without a second thought my finger would click the apps and I would have to close it right away. It took some adjusting to.
Since I couldn't scroll through social media to kill time, I developed a new habit of reading the news. Yep, that news app on my phone really came in handy. It also made me realize how out of touch I have become from what's going on in the world. On social media, only the big and "important" events happening worldwide are displayed but by simply reading the news once a day, I realized how much I miss out on. It made me feel more informed.
Confession time, so I was going to show my mom this funny video of "Mexican Mom's When They Tell You How To Cook" or something like that, that I had seen on facebook a week earlier and I clicked the app. And before I could close it, I saw a post from a friend that seemed important so I read it and liked it... Come on, you can't blame me for caring right? After that though, I closed the app and we were back on track.
It's summer and I had this week off work so I had a whole lot of nothing to do during the day, so naturally, I resorted to watching Netflix. I had done a pretty good job at not binge-watching any shows but that all came to an end this week. I caught up on all the hyped-up Netflix movies and surprisingly started watching a baking show (yeah I never thought I'd be into that but you learn something new everyday right?) And yet another shocking discovery, with the time I had, I decided to work out every day- which made me feel like I had my life together, to be honest.
Day 5 & Day 6
I started noticing that I was spending more time with my family. Usually at night after getting back from church or going out, I go to my room and watch Youtube or go on social media until I fall asleep but since that was no longer an option, I would come to the living room to talk to my mom or watch TV with her. It was nice spending quality time with her and my family. I know it sounds terrible, but it's sad how technology can so many times get in the way of our lives and relationships.
Day 7 & Conclusion
Throughout the week I had noticed so many things because I wasn't on my phone as often as I normally would be. When you can't use social media or your phone as much, you realize how much other people use it. No one talks to each other in person anymore. By this, I mean face to face conversations have become so rare in the streets. When I take the bus, everyone has earphones in and is scrolling through their phone and I can't blame them because that had been me too. I realized there are so many better things I can do with my time than be on social media. Throughout the week I found time to workout, spend time with family, pray etc. which was really eye-opening. We usually say we don't have time for anything but that's because we are allocating time to things we don't need.
Before I started this challenge I was not excited about just ditching social media, but I'm quite surprised how much I didn't miss it. It's been a week and I still haven't gone back online. Before this, every time pictures would be taken at any event when I got home, Facebook would be the first thing I'd look at to see the pictures posted. I feel like now that I haven't been on social media for so long that it was affecting me in subtle ways I hadn't realized. I was comparing my self to people online who were doing these incredible things and going out and traveling that I wasn't enjoying my life as much. And this week made me realize that I love what I do, and that right now I may not be living it up and that's okay because (hopefully) one day I will. So, it definitely put things into perspective for me.
Overall, I don't think social media is a bad thing. I think when it's used moderately and to keep in contact or updated on your friends and family it's really helpful. But when it becomes a place where you end up comparing yourself to others or spending hours on it to just kill time, it becomes a bit of a problem.
I think this experiment really helped me to learn about myself and how to manage my time more efficiently. It taught me to spend time with the people I love more often and to enjoy the life I'm living. I know it seems daunting but if you're up for it, you should take this challenge as well because you never know what you're going to learn from it.