Social media is something that we cannot escape in this day and age, as unfortunate as it is for our brains and overall well-being. Yes, it’s a fun way to connect with our friends and family, update the world on exactly what we’re doing and show just how happy we are, but it also puts a lot of pressure on us and messes with our mental state.
We’ve all heard that excessive use of social media is unhealthy and can cause us to feel negatively about ourselves and our lives. This doesn’t phase or stop the majority of us, as we’re college students with a whole host of occasions to post pictures about. But could it be better tojust live in the moment instead of constantly letting the world know that we’re living?
Many studies have linked social media to depression and anxiety. This is because we’re constantly comparing ourselves (as we sit in our beds scrolling through our feeds) to people who seem like they’re out having fun. The things people post are merely fleeting moments in time and are not an accurate reflection of their everyday lives, although it can be hard to remember that. People have also reported being worried or uncomfortable at times when they weren’t able to access their social networks. This really shows how much we depend on technology.
These studies also point out that we forego face-to-face interaction with our friends and loved ones to see what everyone else is doing. It might not seem like a big deal to go on your phone while you and your group of friends eat dinner at the dining hall, but you’d be surprised at how much social interaction you’re missing out on. Being on your phone constantly distances you from the real world and the people physically around you.
According to another study, “Engaging in activities of little meaning on social media may give a feeling of ‘time wasted’ that negatively influences mood.”
This might not affect us all the time, but I’ve definitely felt unproductive from being on my phone for too long. Think of all the other things you could be doing. This past summer, I tried leaving my phone in another room and socializing with my friends and family instead of constantly being worried about who’s texting or snapchatting me. It’s a liberating feeling to know that you could go back to it at any time; there’s no rush or need to be constantly connected.
You’ll respond when you respond, and you’ll snapchat people back when you have time. It’s actually quite exhausting to be on your phone all the time and feeling like you need you engage with people 24/7. Allow yourself to rest and take a break. As the school year kicks off, try to put your phone away during class, instead of on your desk or in your lap. Try to separate your homework time from your phone or social media time. Putting your phone away or in
another room will help you focus more and get more done in less time.
It sounds corny, but this could be the year of disconnecting with the online world and reconnecting with your own personal world. Focus on your grades, on your health and on building your relationships with your friends and family. The internet will always be there, but the college experience is temporary.
Tessa Pawlik is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.