At 20, I’ve discovered the fundamental truth that social media is a virtual rat race for the masses. This enlightenment has inspired me to delete all major social media off of my dated iPhone 5. After trying countless times to restrict my screen time and temporarily delete the various social media apps off of my phone, I have come to the realization I will always succumb to the social media addiction seemingly everyone my age suffers from if I don’t commit to a permanent eradication of the brain drug that is social media.
It has been about two months since I have deleted all social media apps off my phone.
The recognition of the symptoms of my social media habit is what has ultimately led me to this point. Starting and ending everyday lying in bed mindlessly scrolling through endless posts on a glowing piece of plastic. Letting the perpetual comparisons between my own life and the outward appearance of others online create a constant feeling of inadequacy and anxiety. The main reason, though, is the complete and utter waste of time that accompanies the habitual urge to give a shit about the carefully manicured façade put on by my pseudo-acquaintances.
Living through the posts of so many others took away from my ability to live my own life. I was in a constant state of trying to make myself look cool on the internet instead of actually being a cool person in real life. True happiness would take a backseat to the display of happiness I would try and share on the internet.
If you’re a young person under the spell of social media like so many are, here are some more reasons to rid yourself of this damaging habit.
1. Social media and tech executives in Silicon Valley are raising their own kids with major technology restrictions because many inside the industry are aware of the potentially damaging effects. Some Silicon Valley insiders have even claimed “Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are using ‘behavioral cocaine’ to turn people into addicts” per Business Insiders“Your Brain on Apps” series. (https://www.businessinsider.com/category/your-brain-on-apps)
2. Every second you spend on social media, your information is being analyzed by algorithms that determine what you’re most likely to purchase and this information will in turn, be sold. This data is stored and used to manipulate you. Is that what you want?! If you need any more push to press the little red X, go watch The Great Hack on Netflix.
3. There is a direct link between high social media usage and the increase of anxiety and depression. In a study that tested US adults ages 19 to 32, there was as significant increase in the odds of depression/ anxiety symptoms among high volume social media users. ( Shensa, A., Sidani, J. E., Dew, M. A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., & Primack, B. A. (2018). Social Media Use and Depression and Anxiety Symptoms: A Cluster Analysis. American journal of health behavior.)
Now despite my obvious distaste for social media, I understand the benefits. From keeping up with old friends (although it’s a bad sign for your friendship if the only way you keep up is through social media) to creating a professional account for the advancement of your career, social media does have its uses. Just as opium can be extremely helpful for someone who recently underwent a major back surgery, it can just as easily leave you dead in a ditch with trackmarks on your arm.