Social media my addiction

Social media my addiction

photo by Ashna Haiderali

I was 12 years old when I received the gift of my very first phone, and the first thing I did was ask my parents if I could get Snapchat. Since then, checking social media constantly has become an unbreakable habit for me. When I wake up, the first thing I do is check what’s happening on all my social media platforms. It’s a routine I constantly want to get rid of, but I never end up following through with quitting. 

I decided enough was enough, and I needed to put an end to this addiction. Social media has become a distraction to my daily life, especially in school. I would go on my phone to search for something for an assignment or project, and the next thing I know, I’m tweeting about how hard sophomore year is (which isn’t so bad, to be honest). Social media is fun, but it was getting in the way of my priorities. I decided to commit to a challenge to see how I would do without social media for five days (Monday – Friday) and how that would affect my social media usage on the weekends. I hoped I would eventually adjust to life without social media, but I knew it was going to be a challenge. 

On Monday, I walked to my bus stop remembering the commitment I made. I was extremely hesitant to delete all the social media apps, but I told myself it was no big deal. It’s only a few icons on my phone, how hard could it be? Once I got on the bus, I went on my phone looking for Twitter, forgetting that I had just deleted it. Instead, I just put my headphones in and listened to some music to distract me. 

The minute I entered first period, I was immediately bored. We were handed an assignment, and I had no motivation to complete it. Once again, I unlocked my phone looking for my social media apps. When I got home around 4:00 p.m., the first thing I did was try to open Tik Tok, but I was grateful it was gone because it would have gotten me so distracted that I wouldn’t even start my homework until the evening. I knew I made the right choice, but I felt so disconnected from the world without my online presence. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the disconnect eventually lessened. I completed my reviews and assignments for midterms, which were coming up in the next two days. I was not looking forward to studying, but without my social media distractions, I had a lot of time on my hands. Through these days, I would finish my classwork in class, and usually when I was done I would go on my phone, but there was really nothing for me to do without social media. 

Once I got home, I started studying and doing more assignments right away. Sometimes it was hard to focus because of how bored I was getting, but I barely went on my phone through all of it. Usually I’m up until 2 a.m. finishing my homework, but this week I finished by 10 p.m. I was so happy getting into bed at 11 p.m. for once.

Thursday and Friday were midterms, and I wasn’t scared one bit. Without social media, I was less distracted while studying the nights before. During lunch on Thursday, all my friends were too invested in their phones, scrolling through Instagram and Tik Tok, while there was nothing left for me to do. Across the hallway, I saw a friend who I hadn’t talked to since eighth grade, sitting alone eating lunch. I walked up to her, and we both started catching up with each other and began talking about the most random topics. It felt nice talking to her after so long, and I knew I would have missed that opportunity if I hadn’t deleted social media. 

At the end of the day on Friday, I wondered if my survival of the week meant I could now incorporate a balanced social media presence in my daily routine. Now, when I hangout with my friends, I barely go on my phone, and try my best to start conversations with those around me. Most of the time, starting the conversation works, but when it doesn’t, I obviously use my phone for entertainment. I’ve learned that social media can be effective if you are trying to connect with people who are physically distant, but it can also make you feel disconnected with people who are physically around you. 

I was surprised that after the challenge, even with the ability to go on social media, I felt less tempted to use my phone, even during the weekends. After five days without it, I became conscious about the amount of time I spend on social media, which made me know when to put down my phone at appropriate times. 

I’m glad I went through with this social media cleanse because throughout the five days without it, I recognized my personal priorities needed to be righted. I can always go on Snapchat or Twitter in my free time, but I need to focus more on achieving my goals. Social media is always going to be there, but my future is far more important than some application updating me on the latest gossip.