In 2020, I took 2 separate month long breaks from social media, once in January & once in June, I ended up never going back to any socials except Instagram, Pinterest, & YouTube (& a touch of TikTok to post financial education videos). Now on May 20th, 2021 I started another indefinite break from socials. I am allowing myself access to Pinterest & YouTube because I do not end up scrolling for hours on them, I use them for more practical life application, and I don’t feel negative while on them.
Why I want to quit socials for good (& why you may want to too):
1. I was addicted to Instagram, maybe still am, & I really don’t want to go back. I would scroll for way too long & post too much on my story. I was neglecting real life productivity & social interactions. I tried time limits, but they didn’t work for me. An alcoholic can’t have just one beer and stop, I couldn’t just go on Instagram for 15 min. I also noticed my attention span & the attention span of others shortening, which was/is very frustrating & concerning. I know many people are addicted to the dopamine hits they get from social media, so I’m not alone.
2. On social media, I often feel frustrated or overwhelmed as a Highly Sensitive Person & an Empath. It is so easy to compare yourself to others & feel distraught over all of the horrible things happening in the world (at least for me).
3. It is a huge time waster & an enticing distraction. Since getting off, including the last two times, I read & write more. I also spend more time with people & outside. You’ll be shocked at the amount of free time you have.
4. I’ve been sleeping better! Now that I have less screen time & often read before bed instead.
5. The separate times I’ve been off of socials, I haven’t missed out on much, if anything. We have this sense of urgency & an immediate need to know everything right away, when that is just not true. This can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety. It is okay if you don’t get back to your friends right away. Really, I can’t recall anything I missed out on being off of social media for two separate months.
6. Social media provides an illusion that you’re being social, when you’re really not. Our brain does not recognize it as such. A lot of people become depressed because they aren’t getting enough real, face to face social interaction. Humans are social pack animals, we need a sense of real life community. (I understand this was challenging during a global pandemic obviously.)
7. So much misinformation is spread like wildfire on social media, it is insane. Some social platforms and accounts are particularly toxic/negative. People are happy to say things through a screen that they would never say in real life to someone’s face & without any fact checking.
8. You can lose your sense of self in social media. You are bombarded by other people’s lives you may start to think you want what others have, but is that true? If you had never seen that post would you really want that thing? Or are you just losing touch with your own principles & values?
9. Social Media promotes Hyper-Consumption. You are constantly shown advertisements for things you don’t need, other people living a (seemingly) more lavish life than you, influencers promoting products or services, etc. This is going to make you feel less adequate or inadequate, even if subconsciously. Which in turn makes you want to spend money on things you don’t really want or need. Which then turns into clutter in your home, something you have to sell/donate, or landfill.
Defending Social Media:
Social media is of course a great tool to connect with others, but to be honest, just give people your phone number if they’re really important. Social media takes you away from those you are physically by (often the most important people, like your immediate family & close friends). With that being said, social media can be great for those who maybe don’t get along with their immediate family or are stuck in a small town with people who don’t share the same values as they do, like a teenager that is struggling to fit in (or doesn’t want to) can find other likeminded people through the internet.
Some people use social media as their job or to promote their business which is great! I think it all depends how you use it, if it is actually serving you, & if you can be responsible with it (not scroll for 4 hours a day). Social media employs a lot of people & keeps a lot of businesses afloat.
You can keep larger groups of people up to date on your life, rather than needing to call or text each person an update. (As someone with a small circle, I don’t really care if someone I haven’t talked to since high school or that distant cousin in Nevada is up to date on my life.)
Social media isn’t all bad, but I personally think the cons majorly out weigh the pros. (And I’m a Generation Z!)
Feel free to comment your thoughts on the issue!