Avoiding social media won’t cure all problems


This week, I set out to prove people wrong about our generation. I went the whole week without using any social media, including Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the intention of getting through it with ease. I thought I was going to realize how little I really needed it and how older generations are wrong when they say we’re “zombies” or “glued to our phones.” Needless to say, this isn’t exactly how it went.

Soon after the week started, I had to delete all my social media from my phone, just so I wouldn’t be tempted. I realize now that if I had so little self-control that I knew I would click on the apps if they were on my phone, there’s definitely a problem that’ll take more than a week to fix.

The whole week I kept reaching for my phone, wanting to click on one of the apps I had forced myself to delete. I realized that checking my social media whenever I had a second of down time was something I never thought twice about; I just did it all the time. If I wasn’t making an effort to stay off of it, I couldn’t even count the amount of times I check my social media in a day. A lot of my down time really is spent on my phone, and even if that’s not necessarily a bad thing to some people, it definitely doesn’t sound too healthy to me.

Keeping off of social media was way harder than I thought it would be, but I’m also not going to lie and say that I saw that many benefits to it either. I really didn’t feel any more productive just because I wasn’t looking through social media every time I had a spare minute. That was a bit surprising because part of me thought that I would come out of this week a genius or something because of all the free time I assumed I was going to magically have.

I would say it shocked me to realize how much I missed using social media during this week, but honestly, I’m not shocked at all. I tried having higher expectations for myself, telling myself how easy it was going to be and how I would be some beacon of hope for the older generations who think people our age have a 0.001 second attention span and an overwhelming need for instant gratification and whatever else they say about us.

As it turns out, the claims they make about our generation have some truth in them, at least in my case. I’ll admit that I started scrolling through my own pictures over and over again since I couldn’t be on Instagram. When something embarrassing happened to me throughout the course of my day, I hate to say that I was actually a little bit sad that I had to remember to tell people to their faces instead of just Snapchatting people in the moment that it happened.

What I’m getting at is that this week-long trial was kind of a bust. I got right back on my social media accounts as soon as the week was over. Literally, as soon as I woke up after the week I had carved out for my social media cleanse, I re-downloaded all my accounts and went through them one by one. This is definitely a little embarrassing, but at least now I know that if I ever want to reduce my social media usage, it’ll definitely take more than a week.

I’m not saying that younger generations don’t use too much social media because we most definitely do. According to studies, it’s not good for our mental health, but if there are benefits to reduced social media usage, I can’t say I was able to realize them in one week.