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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Alabama chapter.

Over the past decade, much of Gen Z has fallen victim to different social media platforms and the uniqueness that they each offer. When I had my iPod, it was filled with games like Temple Run, Minecraft, Bakery Story, and more. That all changed on my 12th birthday when my mom said I could get Instagram. I was so excited to finally be able to connect with my friends on an app, see what they were posting, and make posts of my own. While I wasn’t obsessed with the app quite yet, it only took a couple of years to change that.

I admit that I made a Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) fan page in August of 2014 once I found out that Bethany Mota was going to be on the show. Over my high school years, when I wasn’t at school, doing homework, or at dance, I was spending my time on my fan page on my phone. I had been starting to make some of the best friends I had, and I had never met them. While I have met a few of my internet friends over time, I was neglecting those friends I had in real life. Don’t get me wrong, I am forever grateful for the fan page and all the people I met, but I was spending hours on my phone instead of going outside, hanging out with my family, reading books, or getting better at subjects I didn’t understand.

A year or two after I got Instagram, I got Snapchat. I started streaks with people I barely talked to. While I had d=streaks with my best friends, I was wanting to get the greatest number of streaks possible. One day I forgot to send streaks and thought, “there’s no reason I need to have streaks with people I don’t talk to or know”. So, if you are currently thinking to yourself, “that’s me!”, this is your sign to end those streaks. They really aren’t important, and if someone gets hurt over it, they have bigger problems.

At some point in all of this, I also got Facebook and Twitter. Twitter played a big role in the DWTS fandom, so again I spent many hours consumed on an app staring at what people were saying, instead of listening to those around me in real life. TikTok is the biggest platform besides Instagram our generation has succumbed to. I remember my friends telling me freshman year of college they spend hours of the day on TikTok, and that shocked me. Yes, I loved making dance videos or seeing what content my friends posted, but I knew the platform was bad for me. I started using the timer limit on multiple apps, and although I had self-control, I didn’t have enough.

Currently the only social media apps I have are Facebook and Snapchat. I got rid of Instagram eight months ago when I was taking a summer class and didn’t feel the need to get it back. Being off the app, I realized that the friends that truly care about me and our relationship will text me. When one of my friends back home randomly texted me to check up on me, I knew I had done the right thing by deleting Instagram. Yes, I miss seeing photos of what they are sharing, but honestly, I don’t care anymore. I used to judge and compare what was on my feed, but I think if I were to download the app again, I’d just want to see everyone happy and enjoying life. Another thing about Instagram is that people take it so personal when someone unfollows or blocks them. It really isn’t that deep. While I have over a thousand followers on Instagram, I have about ten people I would consider my friends in real life. If someone unfollows me, so be it. You may feel like you are missing out on so much on your phone, especially when everyone around you is on it, but you are missing out on life that is passing you by. We only have one life and want to live it to the fullest. It can be hard to come to the realization that I did, and there may be temptations, but I am glad I was able to do it. Start living in the moment, and I promise you won’t regret it!

Amanda Zimmerman is a senior studying Accounting at The University of Alabama. A few things she enjoys immensely are Disney, dance, traveling, Dancing With the Stars and Orangetheory Fitness!