It can be a god sent and our worst enemy all at the same time.
I got Facebook when I was about 11. Social media was not what it is now. That was in 2009 where the peace sign, braces and a side fringe made the perfect profile picture!
Social media can connect people from all over the world!
The basis of my generation’s lives is situated on our phones or laptops scrolling the internet. You can’t escape it. We spend so much time telling each other what we’re doing, where we’ve been and how we’re feeling, there is always someone on the other end of your phone. It can be where strangers become friends. As a previous boy band ‘fangirl’, I met so many people through Twitter and Facebook that shared a common interest, communities were made. Friendships started.
There are obviously dark sides of the internet.
We don’t always know who we’re talking to. You learn at schools now about cyber safety something that was missed for my generation because it was all so new, nobody knew how to teach us about it. But we learnt as we went on. (obviously, there are things put in place to prevent fake account and such…) The dangers of it weren’t so apparent at that time I don’t think. We didn’t know its effects on our young brains until later.
It has changed the way our brains function.
Our lives are overcome with the need to please, the need for more likes, more comments, more followers! It isn’t just when we’re on these social media platforms that our brains have a need for these things. During a conversation, we want the attention, when we’re walking down the street we need approval for what we’re wearing, the makeup we have on. It’s stupid but it has become part of our culture and if you’re not in it then its like you’re left out. Which is mad!
I was reading an article from The Guardian about social media addiction. Which yes is an actual thing! They compared it to a gambling addiction. Using research that actually shows methods that are used by social media companies, which are similar to that of gambling. It works in a way that makes us dependant on their product and has it constantly ingrained in our brains. Something which has happened to me before is thinking that my phone has gone off or buzzed with a notification when it hasn’t. These ‘phantom calls and notifications’ is a sign of craving the notification.
What can we do?
Taking time out. This is so vital to keeping sane. Having a detox from social media and the pressures it brings will do nothing but benefit us.
Taking a long walk and not looking on your phone can be really nice to just let stuff go. I often walk home without headphones in and leave my phone on silent in my bag to just let go of the day’s stresses.
Starting the day off phone free. When I wake up in the morning I can slip into the trap of lying in bed scrolling on my phone for a while before I actually get up. This is so silly and sets me up for a very different day if I’d have not done this. Spending the first part of the morning, making breakfast or reading a book or paper, showering, anything but scrolling on Instagram. It seems silly that I feel the need to do that, in all seriousness what I have I missed by sleeping for 8 hours! When you think of it like that is when you realise how ridiculous it is. We don’t need to look at it all the time, at one time we didn’t have social media so we must have been able to cope without it.
Restrict solid time spent. Don’t sit there for hours scrolling through meaningless content on Facebook when you could be doing something far more productive and self-improving. Limit yourself to a five-minute break from whatever it is you’re doing to look on social media if you have to. Only look at content that makes you happy. There is no point in wasting all that time if it makes you sad.
This depends on what you’re after in your social media browsing sessions. Personally, I wanted to read things that interest me, see what my friends and family have been up to, learn and feel inspired. What I don’t want is to feel bad about myself because I am comparing myself to unrealistic looks. I don’t want to read people talking badly about others. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has freedom of speech and not everyone in the world is going to agree. However such conversation can be too much sometimes. Other times, such series and in-depth conversation are needed for stimulation, it’s all about balance!
Our new goals
You guys should play along too…
- Don’t go on my phone for the first 30 mins after waking up and before bed (start off small and increase the time if you’re feeling daring)
- At dinner put my phone away, this is a given as its super rude but even if I am eating on my own I will put my phone away and pay more attention to the food I am eating
- Big Goal! I want to go for a whole evening not on my phone, then up it to a whole day then maybe a whole weekend!
- Remove any content I don’t enjoy or feel inspired by
- Be more present!!!!!!
Let me know how you get on with your new social media detox goals!!!