How Social Media Affects Teen Mental State

I, An Internet-Addicted Teen, Cut Off All Social Media For A Week And Journaled My Painful Every Day Experience

One teenager's quest to find out whether social media is the thing rotting his brain or keeping it all together.

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Social media gets a bad rap nowadays, and it's hard not to think that it's only criticized for being something new and hip, like when grandparents start a story with "back in my day, we didn't have-" or when parents look down on memes as stupid and juvenile. I personally love memes, and I certainly am not sold on the whole "social media is ruining this generation" uproar.

To prove my social media reliance hasn't ruined my life or anything, I set out to see how a week without posting, commenting and scrolling would affect my state of mind. The following are journal entries I typed for each day of my social media-less expedition:

Monday

Today I set some ground rules: no Instagram, no Snapchat, no Reddit, no Facebook (as if any self-respecting teenager still used Facebook). I later chose to exclude iMessage from the challenge in case of emergency (more probably because I couldn't live without it), and I made the executive decision to stay on GroupMe so I won't miss every club meeting and "urgent" announcement from our grade leaders.

I imagined it would be difficult, but not impossible. I think I was right; as of yet, this challenge has been a series of problems and quick fixes. For example, I accidentally opened the Instagram app a dozen times today, so I moved all my social apps to a separate page on my home screen so as to control my thumbs.

And since my eyes still craved the stimulation of social media, I replaced my entire social media folder with the News app to keep me busy. I spent a LOT of time scrolling through the news. (Apparently, a bug on group FaceTime let you listen in on the other person without them accepting the call. That's pretty crazy, I guess.)

Tuesday

Today I used the social media challenge as my excuse for forgetting to respond to my mom's text. It was an iMessage so I would have been within my own rules to respond, but it was believable nonetheless. I'd say this whole situation is worth it just for that.

School was cancelled for a supposed winter storm (not a flake fell that day), which gave me a lot of minutes to kill off of my usual sites, so I opted for playtime on the Nintendo Switch and scrolling through News. Evidently, I haven't increased my productivity or unlocked the remaining 90 percent of my brain as one would hope. I did, however, cling to weather updates to find out whether school was cancelled for Wednesday. The lack of snow meant bad news.

Wednesday (after having to go to school)

I honestly didn't think about social media that much today. There was no FOMO or anything, mostly because I'm the type of person who sees a rant post or food selfie and thinks "Okay, thanks?" I kept reading the news between class periods to have an excuse to stare at my phone in the halls — apparently that's where a large part of my social media usage comes from. Whenever I don't know what to do with my hands, I turn to my phone.

Thursday

My phone situation was a major crisis throughout the day. For one, I overestimated my battery conservation skills and went into a school show with seven percent battery. On several instances, I considered risking everything to take a picture of the performers, but ultimately, the fact that I couldn't post it right away kept me from trying. I guess that means my photo-taking is more superficial than I want to believe. I mean, if there's no photo and no way to post it, did the moment even happen?

To make matters worse, there were no clips or pictures on Instagram of the show to rewatch. The only thing I had was an angry text from a friend that read "WHY WONT U REPLY TO MY SNAP??"

Friday

Surprisingly, I forgot the challenge was ending and had to be reminded by a friend. Less surprisingly, I immediately opened Instagram and scrolled through my feed. Nothing terribly interesting to see.

SEE ALSO: My One Week Social Media Detox Made Me Realize Time Is A Precious Gift

I expected some vague sense of liberation, but I don't actually think regaining social media has made me any happier than I was during the week, but to be clear, it hasn't made me more "superficial" either. Having other people's posts as entertainment was just easily replaceable with other pastimes, activities I probably enjoyed more than the usual Twitter scroll.

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
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After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvUCbnwzySKgbKiB_...



14. Some activities on my bucket list are...


This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...



What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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As Millennials, We Are The Loneliest People

From one lonely person to another, let's smash this stigma.

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If you're a millennial and you're feeling extremely lonely, you certainly aren't alone in that feeling. We are often far too afraid to talk about it because society puts such a stigma on this condition. But I am here to tell you that we, as millennials, are the loneliest age group. so let's smash the stigma and acknowledge this feeling once and for all.

As a (nearly) 20-year-old, I never imagined at this age I would think about loneliness. I would always equate that word with elderly people who are away from all of their loved ones, enduring the sullen monotony of a nursing home. Of course, throughout school, I would feel lonely on occasion--the one stretch of the summer when all of my friends were away while I was home, the period of time I was grieving the loss of a loved one, or even particular days when I was just sadder than usual.

But the loneliness faded away after a brief period of healing. I knew my friends would come back and life would return to normal eventually. It was a mood that was sucky but it was only that: a mood.

However, these past two years have been the loneliest years of my life.

Chronic loneliness is different from the loneliness I've ever experienced before. I didn't think living a couple of hours away from home, living in a community of 40,000 people, starting an independent life would leave me so empty, experiencing a far greater level of emotional pain. I kept myself busy in the community, joining various clubs and programs around campus, attending events, and trying to reach out to others, but it seemed like I never belonged anywhere— in my college or in the greater society.

It didn't take me very long to believe that my life and my hurting were not normal.

A counselor on campus, who was a fully grown adult, was "confused" that I felt this way. I "seemed normal" and normal people have tons of friends in college. People would false empathize with me that they "felt that way when they were adjusting" but I'm fully adjusted and feel no less lonely. I call and text people often but everyone is always "busy," and I have no place in the midst of their crazy lives and other friends. In fact, it's been almost six months since I last hung out with a group of people.

But in fact, what I was feeling wasn't so abnormal after all.

The loneliest generation is not the elderly people who live by themselves without family members by their sides. It's us. We can talk to people every day. Since living away, I've talked to the dining hall staff, cashiers at stores downtown, and the one person who knows all the answers in my information science class, but the quality of the bonds was not what they were at home. They did not instantly make me feel like I had tons of friends. The quality bonds we have lost in this stretch of time, a brief stretch of time where we have to quickly develop friendships.

So how can we end our suffering?

We need to open up about how we're feeling. I was convinced I was the only one who felt this way for the longest time, which worsened the extent of this pain. In fact, our chronic loneliness can damage our health in the same way that smoking 15 cigarettes daily can do. But in order to change our health (and our happiness level for God's sake), we need to make it known that us young people are the lonely ones. And maybe then we can help others in our situation who eat lunch alone, who stay in at night, not by choice, who rarely get calls or texts on their phones.

From one lonely millennial to the rest of them, it is time to combat this feeling for good.

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