There is constant controversy surrounding the idea of whether or not social media is considered to be “healthy” for users. It is often considered to be rather addictive as our subconscious indirectly reminds us to check our phones for a notification every few minutes, even when we do not hear the ringer go off. Clearly, each of us is addicted to a social media app of one form or another, though the real challenge seems to be taking the time to separate ourselves from our electronic devices entirely.
I recently spoke to a few friends who decided they were going to conquer the said challenge of spending less time on apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. My first thought was that they had lost their minds, but the more I began to think about it, the more I began to question the benefits of reducing time spent online.
Studies have shown that people who spend lesser amounts of time on social media in a day are perceived as happier, less stressed out, and overall more self-secure.
As people around me not only began ignoring the notifications from these apps on their phones, but deleting them in their entirety, I felt an ounce of inspiration to do the same.
For one day, I decided that I was going to delete Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook from my phone, as well as respond to texts as little as possible. I had the overwhelming urge to discover whether or not I would be happier without my social media accounts, and if I truly needed to rely on them for information and entertainment as much as I thought I did.
It was safe to say that after a dreaded three hours of separation from my phone, all of my apps had been successfully restored and all of my text messages had been fully responded to. In reality, I do not believe I gave this study the proper amount of time to determine whether or not I felt happier without my social media. Truthfully, all I could seem to think about is what updates I may have been missing out on in the time I spent offline.
Although this challenge resulted in a failed attempt, I did come to the realization of how addictive electronics can be. Though I do not consider their usage to be harmful and do not see any blatant effects on my well-being, I believe it is important to take time away from the phone and engage in real-world activities that do well for the body and for the mind. If I exit my social media accounts for a few hours at a time, this addiction reminds me that there will always be new notifications to receive once I return.