Taelor Engle and Halie Wingo
Opinion Editor and Staff Reporter
When most people think about not using social media for a month, they tend to feel anxiety or fear. Many times, people use social media as an unhealthy way to express their feelings, talk to their friends and share inappropriate content. 54 percent of social media users are psychologically addicted to social media and 87 percent of millennials admitted missing a conversation because they were too distracted by social media according to webroot.com and cnbc.com. To test ourselves and the facts, we decided to go one month without social media (Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter).
The decision to go this long without social media, for the two people in the newspaper who use it a little more than others, was difficult. We took on the challenge, though it was hard and there were times that we did cheat on this experiment, because we both like to be pushed and try new things. We saw this particular experiment as new and exciting experience to better ourselves and share the experience with others.
Halie: In the first week, I had a difficult time when at a friends’ birthday party. I downloaded Snapchat and spoke to people on my phone instead of paying attention to the people around me. I realized that I shouldn’t have gotten on my phone, but it was compelling because everyone else was on their phones recording the fun moments of the night.
During the second and third weeks, I did well and did not get on social media at all. It was challenging the second week, though, because, at lunch, most of my friends at the table were on their phones. During those weeks, I found some fun games to entertain myself, and even got other people at lunch to play with me. Experiencing everyone talking at the table and having conversations instead of being on their phones quietly ignoring each other was fun to see.
During the beginning of the fourth week, I had a hard time being off social media because I knew I was almost done with the experiment. I had to try to think about other things and distract myself to keep from getting anxious about getting to download some of my favorite apps.
In conclusion, I became much happier overall in the past month. I have learned to be happier and detached from my phone. Although I am using social media again, my use and habits have changed a lot. I am using it less and having better conversations with people. I would recommend anyone to try this at any point and make sure that their mental health is in check and to put themselves in a better place.
Taelor: During my first week of social media fasting, I heavily struggled with not opening the apps as soon as I woke up, when I was on break at work and when I was at home bored and procrastinating doing my homework. I managed to not get on those apps though, which is quite shocking to myself considering I’m in a public setting, where surrounding people are on social media at least six days a week. It wasn’t excruciating though; I was less distracted, used time more efficiently, did extra credit, worked on projects, caught up on sleep and got necessary things done. It was satisfying for me to have time to myself in order to do those activities.
By the time the second week had passed and the third week was approaching its end, I felt a sense of relief. With social media, I didn’t have drama, but I did experience times of jealousy and unacceptable feelings towards so many things and I was super frustrated by everything. Without social media, I’ve become more social at school and at work; I’m not always in a terrible mood or having an attitude with people. I’ve also started spending more time with my family when I’m not at school or work so it’s nice to have a break from social media.
During the last two days of fasting, I got extremely antsy to get back on to social media. It didn’t help that, in the beginning, I didn’t delete or log out of any of the apps I had an account on.
In this month of fasting, I realized something very important. I realized that social media isn’t an awful thing, but it’s not beneficial for your health. I’m happy I did this because I learned to love and accept myself and to not compare myself so much to other people. I am grateful for this lesson.