Social media consumes a greater part of a teenager’s life. Platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram allow people to both connect and keep up with their friends, which lead them to become addicted. It is common for people to become invested in these apps as they are designed to keep you scrolling through their endless stories and advertisements. As a way to end this addiction for good, I turned to a social media fast and convinced a friend to try it with me.
During this fast, both of us were forbidden to log into any of these social media apps, and our sources of communication were restricted to phone messaging and email, yes email. However, there were strings attached, the first to break the social media fast was to do a favor for the other. It was to be an intense period of time where one had to turn to other hobbies to compensate for the time gained without social media. I would say that it was a cleansing to turn away from the unhealthy habits of social media.
The first few days were obviously the toughest as we were becoming adjusted to this new norm. I constantly checked up on my phone volume, but each one of my friends knew I was seeking for a social media distraction. It takes 21 days for a habit to form, and I would say three weeks is about right to justify for the new habits that I was able to form. My gym training time increased by an hour everyday and I finally found the younger me who was fascinated by books. Suddenly I found time for the hobbies that I enjoy the most, including photography and video editing. Even my family noticed a difference as they observed the new strange distance that I kept from my phone. During friend-outings, I dove into the cliche “enjoy the moment” as I no longer utilized snapchat to record every little detail that caught my eyes.
The time conserved from scrolling through a screen for hours a week was converted into new experiences. Another plus that was squeezed from the fruits of this fast was that it was done right during the college application process. This gave us plenty of time to complete our applications and quit the procrastination. There is nothing more distracting than having your entire desk vibrate from a group chat notification while one is the midst of digging into their work.
Gabrielle Sooknanan, A Thomas A. Edison senior, said “social media can be inspiring, but if used for the wrong reasons, then it could have bad side effects.”
Without a doubt, the social media fast had some great advantages, but there are also some clear negatives. I became secluded from my non-school friends who I would communicate with through social media. Sure we have each other’s numbers, but it’s not the same as staying updated on what is going on in their lives, but maybe that’s a good thing. Despite not communicating with my friends as much, I found it much more satisfying to not constantly be bombarded by everyone’s snapchat stories.
The scale tips to the advantages of the social media fast rather than the negatives. That is, having more self time along with enjoying moments with friends and family, while still figuring out a way to get all of your necessities done to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoiding social media has allowed me to discover more in YouTube and enjoy more shows in Netflix. I have learned to stay in contact with my friends through other means and I can finally say that I am done with my college application process. I encourage you to give the social media fast a try, it’s a great way to put a stop to an underrated addiction.